1. Cultural policy system
Last update: December, 2020
In the last two decades, the general objectives of Croatian cultural policy have included the pursuance of values such as: cultural pluralism (aesthetic and multi-ethnic), creative autonomy, the increase and diversification of sources for financing of culture, polycentric cultural development, and encouraging cultural participation and co-operation between the public and the private sector. These principles have been put into practice in the following way:
- diversification by encouraging cultural creativity and innovation; tolerance and inclusion of cultural minority groups, and by financing activities of various cultural interests - from high culture, alternative culture, through ethnic cultures, etc;
- support for creativity through fiscal measures such as paying social, health and retirement benefits for registered freelance artists, and support for participation by funding amateur artists' associations.
These cultural policy objectives have not changed significantly in recent years. Such cultural policy orientation is in line with the main European cultural policy principles such as the promotion of identity and diversity, support for creativity, participation in cultural life, and respect for cultural rights.
The cultural policy system in Croatia is a version of a centralised model where the state is primarily the architect of cultural policy and the Ministry of Culture and Media is the basis of the funding system. Cultural councils are consultative bodies to the Minister, and the Ministry is in charge of distributing the grants. Arm’s length bodies such as the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, which is in charge of audiovisual activities, and the Foundation ‘Kultura nova’, which is dedicated to civil society organisations in the arts and culture, supplement this centralised model.
The main features of the cultural policy are oriented to:
- Fostering artistic and cultural creativity;
- Supporting the programmes of cultural autonomy of national minorities;
- Supporting artistic production through providing social security measures for freelance artists;
- Promoting international cultural cooperation and exchange, funding exchange programmes and artistic residencies, giving support for European cultural cooperation projects, and signing new bilateral cultural cooperation programmes;
- Supporting the enhancement of media pluralism and content diversity through special funding for public, commercial and non-profit media;
- Fostering access to culture and cultural participation, especially for children and young people either through discounts for access to cultural institutions, or through specific support programmes;
- Safeguarding the local cultural infrastructure through support for digitalisation of arthouse, small and regional cinemas;
- Encouraging the development of cultural entrepreneurship;
- Fostering contemporary artistic and cultural production through support for civil society organisations in contemporary culture and the arts.
Decentralisation has been an important subject in Croatian cultural policy and practice throughout the years, and is still an open issue of debate in the cultural sector. The introduction of cultural councils in the 2000s were step in this direction, while amendments to the Law on Cultural Councils in the subsequent years opened up the possibility for local government to introduce cultural councils on a local and regional level so as to further the process of decentralisation. However, much is needed to further these attempts as there are many regional differences that contribute to unequal regional cultural development.
In the recent decade, since Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, one can note the introduction of more entrepreneurial cultural policy discourse that highlighted cultural and creative industries as important foci. In addition, there has been more emphasis on the need for cultural institutions and organisations to orient themselves in search of additional funding through a project-based approach, highlighting EU funding as an important source.
After the Second World War, Croatia became a constituent republic of the Federative Popular Republic of Yugoslavia, which inherited the ex-Yugoslav kingdom. Its cultural policy was designed to accomplish the mission of building up socialist culture. The inherited cultural infrastructure (museums, theatres, libraries, etc.) was reconstructed and reorganised in compliance with the new social system.
In the mid-1950s the self-management system was introduced. Cultural and other public domains (education, media, health, etc.) were decentralised and regulated on the level of the six constituent republics. The 1960’s and 1970’s were a time when cultural professionalism and creativity were emphasised as a reflection of the country's multi-ethnic character. Western influences, mainly reflected in modernisation, and the global openness of the country (the policy of non-alignment) brought various cultural influences. Ideological control over culture loosened, followed by political liberalisation and greater autonomy of the republics in the federation. The self-management system in culture and other public fields established a quasi-market economy. Instead of grants from the budget, special funds were created and their allocation was decided by bodies composed of providers and recipients of services. The overall political and economic crisis in the mid-1980’s reflected the fact that this new system was mismanaged and non-functional. It became increasingly embroiled in the main political clash between federal centralists and republican co-federalists. These political clashes led to war in 1990 and to the dissolution of Yugoslavia.
In the 1990s, the cultural policy of independent Croatia was politically and administratively centralised and incorporated in everyday life with special emphasis on national traditions. It was designed to foster a sense of national cohesion, especially at the beginning of the period when the country was drawn into war. Cultural planning and funding gave priority to activities of "national interest" in culture and left all other activities to the emerging market and to NGOs.
Since 2000, when the new centre-left coalition government was elected, there has been a broader implementation of cultural policy with a particular stress on pluralist cultural orientations. A more balanced approach to tradition and a new evaluation of the national and the multicultural components has been undertaken, together with steps towards further decentralisation and direct co-operation with NGOs. The first national cultural development strategy was created and adopted in Parliament, but it was not followed through by the next nor following governments.
In the following period, although there were changes between the centre-right and centre-left political coalitions in power, in principal there have not been any major shifts in the structuring of the overall cultural system. Culture has remained a marginal cultural policy, while the cultural budget has remained less than 1% of the overall state budget throughout the years.
Last update: December, 2020
Last update: December, 2020
Decision-making and the implementation of cultural policy involve procedures and interactions between the Ministry of Culture and Media, the Government and the Parliament, on the one hand, and consultative cultural councils, local government and self-government, cultural institutions, NGOs, and individual artists and their associations, on the other.
The Ministry of Culture and Media drafts laws and other important documents which the government passes on to the Parliamentary Committee for Education, Science and Culture, and/or Parliamentary Committee for Information, Informatisation and Media. When cleared, they undergo parliamentary discussion and enactment. The Ministry of Culture and Media plays a part in drafting the budget and decides on the allocation of budgetary funds to various cultural fields, and it has responsibility for media policy issues.
Cultural Councils (Law on Culture Councils, NN 53/01, NN 48/04, NN 44/09, NN 68/13) are consultative bodies to the Minister of Culture and Media with a mandate of: e.g. proposing goals for cultural policy and measures for achieving them, offering professional assistance to the Minister of Culture and Media, working out a long-term national cultural programme, and giving opinions on the distribution of grants. If the Minister finds it necessary, according to the Law on Cultural Councils, he / she may convene a National Council for Culture. Cultural councils on the national level exist in the following fields: music and music-related performing arts; dance, theatre and performing arts, books and publishing, visual arts, amateur arts and culture, innovative artistic and cultural practices, and international cultural cooperation. Specific laws provide for the establishment of four other councils (cultural assets, archives, museums and libraries). The 2013 amendments introduced the possibility of establishing new cultural councils if deemed necessary.
Besides existing cultural councils, there are other councils and committees established by the government having direct and indirect impact on the formulation of cultural policies, such as the government committees for national minorities, youth, gender equality, civil society and others. The internal cooperation between different councils and committees is rather low.
The Ministry of Culture and Media regularly co-operates with other ministries to bring general and related laws into harmony with cultural legislation such as: the protection of cultural heritage (with the Ministry of the Interior), conservation and protection of historical town centres (with the Ministry of Physical Planning,Construction and State Assets), drafting media legislation and regulating audio and audiovisual media services and electronic publications (with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure), and in appointing cultural attachés or organising cultural events abroad (with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs).
Some important areas of culture, however, do not fall fully under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and Media, such as arts education, research and minority cultural groups. The Ministry of Education and Science takes the lead role for arts education and there is a shared responsibility for research in cultural matters between the two Ministries. The Ministry of Culture and Media and the Government Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities share responsibility for ethnic minority cultural groups. Prospects for closer inter-ministerial co-operation are hindered by the strict sectoral division of activities.
The Agency for Electronic Media (AEM) is an independent regulatory body that promotes public interest and media pluralism, encourages media literacy, creates conditions for the production of quality Croatian audiovisual content and ensures equal conditions for media development and media freedom.
The Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) is an arms-length body which is responsible for the production, financing, promotion and distribution of audiovisual activities.
The Kultura Nova Foundation is dedicated to the promotion and development of civil society organisations in the field of contemporary culture and arts. The funding for this arms-length body is obtained partly through the Lottery fund, donations and other sources according to the Law on the Kultura Nova Foundation.
There is no single law regulating the division of jurisdictions. Specific laws regulate different fields and prescribe whether the local and regional authorities or the state are responsible for establishing and financing institutions in that particular field (see chapters 1.2.3 and 1.2.4).
There has not been a significant change in the architecture of the system in the recent years.
Last update: December, 2020
Croatia is divided into 21 regional government units: 20 counties (županija) and the City of Zagreb that has a special status of performing competencies of both city and county, and has a significant role in performing state administrative tasks in its territory. The Law on the Areas of Counties, Towns and Municipalities in the Republic of Croatia establishes the administrative structure of the Republic of Croatia for the purposes of classifying those activities to be financed from the different budgets at particular levels. In their self-governmental remit, counties have tasks of regional importance, among which is also 'the establishment and development of the network of educational, medical, social welfare, and cultural institutions'. However, it can be said that the regional authorities play a minor role in the governance structure of cultural policy in Croatia that is reflected in the financial input. Public cultural expenditure on the county level has remained rather low in the last decade, amounting to approximately 4-5% on a yearly level, according to The Central Bureau of Statistics (2019a). There is a regional difference in public cultural expenditure within the counties, for example: Dubrovnik-Neretva county (12.95%), Šibenik- Knin county (8.73%) and Primorsko-goranska county (8.17%), while in Koprivnica-Križevci county it is only 1.98%, as shown in data from the Statistical Yearbook 2018 (Central Bureau of Statistics, 2019a) (see chapter 7.1).
While the previous laws offered a possibility for local government to introduce cultural councils on a local and regional level, the 2007 Law on Cultural Councils made this mandatory for all counties and cities with more than 30 000 inhabitants. The intention of the legislator was to contribute to the process of decentralisation, but the effects of this change have not been fully assessed. For example, according to the latest data available from the Ministry of Culture (November 2014), three out of 20 counties and one city (with more than 30 000 inhabitants) have not adhered to this Law. There is no new data on the implementation of these amendments on the local or regional level and there are no changes to the architecture of this system in recent years.
Last update: December, 2020
Local government is enshrined in the Constitution (Art. 133-138) and municipalities and towns in their self-governmental remit have the task of addressing citizens’ needs, which includes culture. The legislative framework regulating the field of culture at the local level gives cities an important role in creating local cultural policies and autonomy in the management of the local cultural sector. This is especially relevant taking into account the public cultural institutions of which the local self-government units are the founders. City budgets are important sources of public funding for the local cultural sector although there are large regional and city differences, not only in the total amount earmarked for culture but also in the percentage of cultural expenditure dedicated to the cultural and creative sectors. Here one also has to stress the central role that the capital city of Zagreb has, not only in relation to (cultural) budget matters, but in the scope of cultural infrastructure situated in the city founded either by the state or of which the city is the founder (see chapter 7.1.2).
As a part of their responsibilities, cities and municipalities finance programmes in local community cultural centres that for some smaller cities are the only venues for arts and culture. The network of community cultural centres is fully decentralised and the level of their involvement in cultural life (as well as their ability to organise and/or host cultural and artistic programmes) varies greatly from one city to the other. In the last couple of years there are initiatives for the transformation of community cultural centres and there are steps towards usage of EU funds for such a change (The European Social Fund in particular) (see chapter 2.7).
The Law on Institutions is important for local cultural policies as it establishes the responsibilities of founders in the management and financing of cultural institutions. Local cultural policies, and especially the activities of particular institutions are led by specific sectoral legislation relating to particular types of activities e.g. archives, libraries, museums, theatres or music and performing arts, audio-visual activities, and the protection and promotion of cultural assets. Decentralisation has been a much-debated topic in the past twenty years, so the Law on Cultural Councils (2001, amended in 2004, 2009 and 2013) is very important for local cultural policies. It includes the responsibility to establish cultural councils at city and country levels (decentralisation of the decision-making process). The 2009 amendment referred to funding and functioning of Culture Councils. Responsibilities for their establishment, financing and functioning have been shifted from city government to Mayoral Offices, or their equivalent. The 2013 amendments included the change of names and jurisdiction of some of the cultural councils, the possibility of establishing new cultural councils at national level if deemed necessary and a change in the number of members of the councils. Until recently, cultural strategies on the local level were scarcely adopted; the only exception was the "Istrian Cultural Strategy" of Istra County that was adopted in Poreč in 2009. However, in the last couple of years, selected cities have adopted them (e.g. Rijeka, Zadar, Varaždin, Osijek, Dubrovnik). This mainly can be attributed to the preparation of these cities for application to the European Capital of Culture programme that obliges cities to have such strategies. With the adoption of the Law on Strategic Planning and Management of Development of the Republic of Croatia (NN 123/2017) this situation is gradually changing.
Another important instrument for local cultural policies are the provisions of the Law on the Preservation of Cultural Assets (1999, amended 2003, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2020) that is regulating the distribution of funds collected through the Monument Annuity Fund that ensures that a certain percentage of funds is distributed by the local government in the city / municipality where the annuity has been collected.
Last update: December, 2020
The cultural NGO sector has grown dynamically in the last twenty years. Such growth resulted in the establishment of an "independent cultural sector" and contributed to the separation of "institutional" (government subsidised) and "independent" culture (that at the start of the 2000’s was subsidised mostly by foreign sources) (see also chapter 7.3). The number of cultural associations has been increasing continually in the last two decades, although in the last couple of years this increase has been slowing down. For example, according to data from the Government Office for Associations in February 2001 there were a total of 18 981 associations; 2 174 of which were in the cultural field. Ten years later, this number has more than doubled: in October 2011 the total number of associations was 44 463, while the number of cultural associations was 6 552 (Web Database Registry: http://126.96.36.199/RegistarUdruga/). Now, more than a decade later, this number is 8.912 cultural-related associations out of a total of 51.866 associations in Croatia (according to the Registry of Associations).
In the last decade, civil society organisations in arts and culture have been influencing cultural policy-making from the bottom up, thus resulting in policy innovations on the local and on the national level. An example of such an innovation at the local level is the establishment of the first civil-public partnership institution established in 2008 and is financed primarily by the City of Zagreb entitled POGON – Zagreb Centre for Independent Culture and Youth. On the national level, an example of the result of lobbying is the establishment of the Kultura nova Foundation which is dedicated mainly to the development of the independent cultural scene. The Ministry of Culture proposed the Law on the Kultura nova Foundation, passed by the Parliament in July 2011, with the Foundation fully operating since December 2012 (see chapter 6.4).
Cultural industries are an important part of the cultural policy system and are protecting their role and influencing cultural policy through their sector-specific professional associations, organisations and ad hoc networks (see chapter 3.5).
Last update: December, 2020
The Ministry of Culture and Media regularly co-operates with other ministries to bring general and related laws into harmony with cultural legislation. They also co-operate in fields in which the competencies of various ministries are involved, such as the protection of cultural heritage (with the Ministry of the Interior), conservation and protection of historical town centres (with the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets), drafting media legislation and regulating audio and audiovisual media services and electronic publications (with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure), and in appointing cultural attachés or organising cultural events abroad (with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs). From 2008-2012, together with the then Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts, the Ministry of Culture ran a programme to support SME's in the field of culture and creative industries entitled ‘Entrepreneurship in culture’, although since 2013 the Ministry of Culture and Media is now the only supporter (see chapter 3.5).
Some important areas of culture, however, do not fall fully under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and Media, such as arts education, research and minority cultural groups. For example, while the Ministry of Education and Science takes the lead role for arts education, there is a shared responsibility for research on cultural matters between these two Ministries. The Ministry of Culture and Media and the Government Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities share responsibility for ethnic minority cultural groups.
Prospects for closer inter-ministerial co-operation are hindered by the strict sectoral division of activities while the most important links are financial and economic, i.e. the budget and economic growth. There are a number of trans-sectoral strategies which contribute to better coordination between different ministries and various levels of government. Co-operation between national, regional and municipal levels of government continues to be a very important segment of cultural policy, particularly when it comes to investment projects in renewing old institutions or building and setting up new cultural institutions such as libraries, archives, museums and theatres.
Last update: December, 2020
Cultural institutions in Croatia are mostly public – they are founded mainly by the state and towns, and more rarely by counties or wealthier municipalities. The status and number of state-owned institutions has remained almost unchanged throughout the years. The legislation in force prescribes that every decision to close an institution must be approved by the Ministry of Culture and Media; a provision to preserve the existing level of cultural infrastructure.
The number of private cultural institutions is very low, whether they are of non-profit or commercial nature. An interesting example of a hybrid cultural institution is POGON – Centre for Independent Culture and Youth, Zagreb, which is based on a new model of public-civil partnership. Pogon's founders are the Alliance Operation City and the City of Zagreb which is the main funder of the institution. In collaboration with the network of NGOs and the Kultura Nova Foundation, the Ministry of Culture and Media has applied to the European Social Fund with the project for the development of socio-cultural centres in several Croatian cities inspired partly by the successful example of POGON (see chapter 2.7).
Several private commercial initiatives in the cultural infrastructure can be mentioned. The first private museum, Museum Marton, was opened in 2003 in Samobor and the collection was moved to Zagreb in 2011. Unfortunately, due to the recession the Museum in Zagreb had to be closed in 2013 and the owner returned the collection to the original location in Samobor. The Marton Museum was hosted in the same building as another private initiative – "Museum of Broken Relationships", a permanent exhibition that opened in October 2010 in Zagreb and received a number of international awards. The latter still functions at the same location. Two other private initiatives are Lauba - the House of Contemporary Art and Culture in Zagreb and the Batana Eco Museum in Rovinj. An interesting local community initiative was the opening of a museum of local shipbuilding heritage in the municipality of Tisno, in Betina.
Last update: December, 2020
Table 1: Cultural institutions, by sector and domain
|Domain||Cultural institutions (subdomains)||Number (year)||Trend last 5 years (in %)|
|Cultural heritage||Cultural heritage sites (recognised)||6 0191 (2020)||N/A|
|Museums||Museums and museum collections||222 (2015)||26.86%|
|Archives||Archive institutions||19 (2017)||5.55%|
|Visual arts||Galleries||302 (2018)||N/A|
|Performing arts||Professional theatres||95 (2016/2017)||10.45%|
|Professional children's theatres and amateur theatres||30 (2016/2017)||20%|
|Professional orchestras, ensembles and choirs (including symphonic orchestras)||46 (2016/2017)||84%|
|Radio stations||147 (2017)||3.52%|
|Television stations||27 (2017)||3.85%|
Sources: If not otherwise noted, data presented is from the Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Croatia 2018 (Central Bureau of Statistics 2019a).
1 Permanently protected cultural assets on 31.12.2020. (Website Registry of Cultural Assets of the Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Culture). Note: the website does not include data on movable cultural assets).
2 Data from Culture and Arts 2018, Statistical reports. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics (2020a).
Last update: December, 2020
Public cultural institutions are usually founded by the state, towns, more rarely by counties, and sometimes by the wealthier municipalities. Although the financing of public cultural institutions is not put into question, it still remains insufficient for all of the institutions’ activities, and it has to be said that in the last couple of years there has been an impetus that the public cultural institutions should introduce a market approach to their finances. Emphasis has been placed on the availability of funding from the European Union through different programmes, and public cultural institutions are applying to these funds with different levels of success and through different types of programmes (e.g. IPA, Creative Europe). Their success depends on their field of work as well as the internal capacities of the institutions to manage and implement EU-type project applications and programmes.
There was a significant increase in the number of cultural festivals and manifestations in the last three decades. In addition, there is a number of large international cultural events that have a long tradition such as: 70 year old Dubrovnik Summer Festival; Animafest – festival of animation (established over 40 years ago as a biennale, and since 2005 is functioning as an annual event); Šibenik International Children's Festival that celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2020; Vinkovci Autumn Folklore Event established in 1974; Dance Week Festival since 1984, Music Biennale since 1961, Pula Film Festival that celebrated its 67th anniversary in 2020, etc. A number of these traditional events established themselves as public cultural institutions.
Partnerships between public cultural institutions and private ones (among which the most common is the cooperation of public cultural institutions with non-governmental cultural organisations or other actors from civil society) is primarily project-based and it mainly depends on the organisations’ current interests and budgeting opportunities. Such cooperation can be established through domestic projects but also through international (mainly European-based and EU funded) programmes and networks.
As elaborated in chapter 2.1, in 2020 Zagreb and Sisak-Moslavina county were hit by strong earthquakes that damaged the cultural infrastructure including many public cultural institutions. The scope of the damage and costs are still not properly assessed but this has and will have an impact not only on public cultural institutions but also on cultural life in Zagreb and in Croatia in general in the foreseeable future.
Last update: December, 2020
International cultural co-operation has been continuously listed among cultural and cultural development priorities. The Directorate for International Cultural Relations and European Affairs has two Sectors – the Sector for International Cultural Relations and European Affairs and the Sector for EU Programmes and Projects, which are composed of five Services – The Service for Preparation, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation of EU Programmes and Projects, The Service for Development and Coordination of EU Programmes and Projects, The Service for Creative Europe, The Service for UNESCO, and The Service for Bilateral and Multilateral Cultural Cooperation.
The government established the Cultural Council for International Relations and European Integration following the provisions of the Law on Cultural Councils in 2004, while in 2013 this Council changed its name to the Council for International Cultural Cooperation. The aim of this Council is to better coordinate and plan international cultural cooperation activities. In addition to its consultative role in the distribution of grants, the Cultural Council for International Relations also has the task of suggesting improvements in the coordination of planning and participation in international exchanges. According to data by the Ministry of Culture, in 2019 the Ministry co-financed 820 programmes with a total of 10 679 856 HRK (1 423 980 EUR) for the support of different type of programmes in international cultural cooperation and exchange (from archives, interdisciplinary projects, performing arts, books, libraries, new media etc). This is the continuation of a trend in financing that has been evident in the last couple of years – e.g. in the planned budget for 2016, the allocation of the Ministry of Culture for international cultural cooperation was 10 652 222 HRK (approx. 1 420 296 EUR), while in 2015 it amounted to 11 188 000 HRK (approx.1 491 733 EUR).
The government continues signing bilateral agreements and programmes of cultural cooperation; up to autumn 2020, 51 bilateral agreements and 27 bilateral programmes had been signed. It is important to stress that the majority of projects financially supported by the Ministry of Culture and Media are not based on the traditional form of "government to government cooperation" but on direct contacts between artists and arts and cultural organisations.
In September 2013, the Croatian Parliament passed the new Law on the Establishment of the Hrvatska kuća Foundation (Croatia House) with the aim to create an institution working on the promotion of Croatian culture abroad. The Foundation was established in 2014, and it opened its first call for proposals in June 2014, which resulted in the first 24 projects being accepted for funding in 2014-2015, while for the period 2016-2017 the Foundation supported 22 projects. During 2016, the government opened up public discussion on the dissolution of the Foundation, but the status of the Foundation is still not clear.
The Ministry of Culture and Media (on the national level) and larger cities (on the local level) are major founders of international cultural cooperation projects and initiatives. The Ministry of Culture and Media cooperates with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs which is responsible for coordination of work of cultural attachés. Croatian embassies are still the focal points for the promotion of Croatian culture. The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs publishes a Public Call for projects of cultural promotion, public diplomacy and international recognition of the Republic of Croatia that are then executed jointly by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and diplomatic missions. In 2020 this call supported 93 programmes with a total amount of 3 766 000 HRK.
The Ministry of Culture and Media operates all major instruments used in international cultural relations including state guarantees, bilateral agreements and programmes, as well as sector-specific agreements such as co-production agreements. Other actions are also prepared such as in 2019 when the Croatian-Chinese year of Tourism and Culture was promoted as a joint project of international cooperation.
Cultural agencies and institutes (such as the Austrian Cultural Forum, British Council, French Cultural Centre, Goethe Institute, Cultural Centre of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Italian Institute for Culture, Aula Cervantes, Balassi Institute, Instituto Camoes, Romanian Cultural Institute and WBI) support cultural cooperation between respective countries and Croatia according to their mandate. EUNIC Cluster Croatia - a network of European cultural institutes operating in Croatia - was founded in 2007 and is a member of the European Union National Institutes for Culture-EUNIC.
Last update: December, 2020
Since its independence, Croatia has been a member of the Council of Europe, and has participated in its numerous activities and projects.
The country became a full member of the EU in July 2013. However, it had participated in EU programmes earlier, as in June 2007, the Memorandum of Understanding with European Communities was signed, which made Croatia a full member of the EU Culture 2007-2013 programme. The Cultural Contact Point (CCP) Department (now Service) has been established and hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Media. Also, in 2008, the Memorandum of Understanding with European Communities on the Croatian participation in the MEDIA 2007 Programme was signed and Croatia has established a Media Desk within the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (see chapter 3.2), that is now called Creative Europe Desk – MEDIA Sub-programme. By devising a special Rulebook, the Ministry of Culture supports Croatian cultural organisations through co-financing projects supported by the EU programme Creative Europe – Sub-programme Culture. The total yearly support for organisations amounted to approximately one million HRK (depending on the year applied) (approx. 133 333 EUR).
Strengthening cultural cooperation with other countries of the European Union is one of the priorities of international cultural cooperation. Such cooperation is based on existing links between artists and arts managers; bilateral and regional programmes of cooperation; cooperation within the framework of international organisations such as UNESCO or the Council of Europe; cooperation within regional organisations such as the Council of Ministers of Culture of South East Europe (the Charter, signed in Copenhagen on 31 March 2005), the network of ministers responsible for cultural heritage sponsored by UNESCO, the Danubian Region, the Alps Adriatic Working Community, the Central European Initiative, the Quadrilateral Initiative, Adrian-Ionian Initiative, etc. The projects include post-war reconstruction, the return of stolen cultural assets, support for mobility, and cooperation in the field of policy-making, cultural itineraries, networking among youth, etc.
Croatia is an active member of UNESCO and participates in a number of projects initiated and supported by this organisation. The Ministry of Culture and Media is responsible for the implementation of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and regularly publishes the Quadrennial Periodic Report (QPR). In accordance with the international agreement signed between UNESCO and the Republic of Croatia, the International Centre for Underwater Archaeology was founded in Zadar in 2007 with the aim to enhance cooperation in preservation and promotion of the underwater cultural heritage of Croatia, South East Europe and the Mediterranean. The Service for UNESCO at the Ministry of Culture and Media coordinates the work of the National Commission for UNESCO; cooperates with responsible ministries in implementing normative instruments, regularly manages calls for the UNESCO Participation programme, provides stipends for Women in Science, and is the focal point of the UNESCO 2005 Convention etc.
The Ministry of Culture and Media actively participates in the work of different international networks such as the Forum of Slavic Cultures, International Federation of Arts Councils and Agencies (IFACCA)(e.g. the Ministry of Culture organised the 17th Europe Chapter Meeting of IFACCA in 2019), and others.
Last update: December, 2020
Many cultural NGOs as well as professional associations of artists and cultural workers participate in numerous international projects, different types of professional cooperation and are members of international professional organisations and/or international cultural networks. The interest of cultural operators and artists in participating in various international networks continues to be ever growing and more visible. E.g. several Croatian theatres are members of the European Theatre Convention. Croatian artists participated in platforms and networks supported by the Culture and the Creative Europe programmes. Croatian cultural institutions, NGOs, experts and centres / sections (Croatian national committee of ICOM, Croatian sections of AICA, UNIMA, ASSITEJ, IDEA, DACI, C.I.O.F.F., Croatian centre for PEN, ITI etc.) are active participants of international NGOs in the field of culture and the arts.
Some important multilateral co-operation projects, coordinated or supported by the Ministry of Culture and Media, include:
- the Regional Programme for Cultural and Natural Heritage in South East Europe (RPSEE), a joint activity of the Council of Europe and Southeastern European governments;
- "Ljubljana Process II – Rehabilitating our Common Heritage", supported by the European Commission and the Council of Europe.
- Vukovar-Vučedol-Ilok: Research, Reconstruction, Revitalisation (Ministry of Culture and Media / Council of Europe Development Bank);
- cooperation within the Adriatic Ionian Basin (Project on Cultural Routes);
- cooperation within the Alps-Adriatic Working Community;
- participation in the TRADUKI Network – European Network for the Promotion of Literature and Books; and
- participation in the Roberto Cimetta Fund dedicated to the mobility of artists and cultural managers.
While it is still difficult to obtain extra-budgetary funds for cultural cooperation projects and networking in Croatia, financial support is mostly provided by the Ministry of Culture and Media and local communities.