Alert! Culture left to die in Romania
Coalition of the Independent Cultural Sector | Bucharest, 24 August 2012
A new Government proposal risks to destroy the living culture in Romania. In a Government Ordinance project presented for debate on the 8 August 2012, the Ministry of Public Finance proposes that, starting with the 1 January 2013, the Romanian Lottery stops transferring 2% of its income to the Administration of the National Cultural Fund (AFCN). The two percent allocation was introduced with great difficulty in 2008, by modifying the Government Ordinance no. 51/1998 concerning the improvement of the funding system for cultural programmes and projects. According to inside sources from the AFCN, the funds allocated from the Lottery represented approximately 90-95% of the total budget for funding the cultural and editorial projects. Summing up, the new proposal will reduce the funds available for culture through AFCN to only 5-10% of the current budget.
The draft legislation was published on 8 August 2012 on the website of the Ministry of Public Finance, together with other measures, under the name of “Ordinance concerning the regulation of diverse fiscal-budgetary measures”. Only 10 days were given, the minimum legal period, for proposals, suggestions and requirements of public debate, but no one responded. Despite the major impact this measure will have on the public funding of culture in Romania, neither the Ministry of Culture, nor AFCN made any public statement or had any point of view on the matter. At the same time, the cultural sector found out too late about this proposal, though Law no. 52/2003 explicitly mentions that the private non-profit actors are mandatory recipients for new legal initiatives concerning their field of activity. The Ordinance explanatory note includes only a formal justification of the proposal, reflecting the total lack of consideration for the impact of such a decision.
Thursday, on 23August 2012, the proposal was on the Government’s agenda. But, according to Law no. 52/2003, the proposal cannot be adopted earlier than 30 days from its public communication for public debate. This means that there is still time, until 9 September, to influence the faith of cultural funding in Romania.
The budget of AFCN, for editorial projects was of 1.890.000 lei (approx. 422.781 euros) and of 1.900.000 lei (approx. 425.018 euros) for cultural projects in 2010,. In 2011, for editorial projects 3.407.000 lei (approx. 762.124 euros) were allocated and for cultural projects 4.500.000 lei (approx. 1.006.621 euros) were invested (1 leu = 4.4704 euros, according to 24August 2012 rate). Without the National Lottery funding, that consistently contributes to the available funding opportunities, the existence of AFCN and of the private non-profit cultural projects becomes uncertain. With almost 8 million lei in 2011, AFCN was able to fund hundreds of cultural and editorial projects and represented the only funding body for projects in the field of arts and culture in Romania.
We consider absolutely necessary that the Ministry of Culture, AFCN management and AFCN Council assume a public position regarding this draft legislation and we ask for the support of our colleagues from the cultural-artistic field, NGOs, both private and public, to join us in organizing a public debate, as well as to determine the withdrawal of the modifications introduced by the normative act project initiated by the Ministry of Public Finance. The Coalition of the Independent Cultural Sector invites everyone who is interested in signing the letter that we are going to address to the relevant public authorities to send their adhesion to our e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by 29 August.
The draft legislation can be consulted at http://discutii.mfinante.ro/static/10/Mfp/transparenta/OrdMasuriFinanciare.pdf (available only in Romanian)
Coalition of the Independent Cultural Sector coordination team:
Raluca Pop (+40)744.399.767
Stefania Ferchedau (+40)740.300.124