|Author (Person)||Neligan, Myles|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.4, No.17, 30.4.98, p4|
|Content Type||Journal | Series | Blog|
A DISPUTE over funding between Budget Commissioner Erkki Liikanen and his culture counterpart Marcelino Oreja is holding up proposals for a much-needed overhaul of EU initiatives to promote the arts.
Oreja's plan to allocate 200 million ecu to fund cultural projects from 2000 to 2006 has sparked an internal battle, with Liikanen's staff arguing that the figure is too high.
As a result, publication of the European Commission's strategy for supporting heritage and the arts beyond the year 2000, which was originally due to be unveiled yesterday (29 April), has been postponed for a week.
Yet there is no guarantee that the extra time will enable the two departments to settle their differences, although culture officials stress that they must be resolved swiftly if the new proposals are to be ready for EU culture ministers to discuss as planned on 28 May.
"The figure of 200 million ecu, to be spent over six years, represents only a tiny real increase on current funding levels," added one.
The Commission's new culture strategy aims to concentrate whatever financial resources are finally agreed on projects which are likely to have the greatest impact. Grandly entitled 'Culture 2000', it would consolidate the three existing culture programmes, focusing on the arts, literature and heritage, into a single framework programme.
While a balance between these three branches of cultural activity would be maintained, priority would be given to large-scale international projects leading to the creation of lasting structures. Preference would also be given to particularly innovative schemes. At the same time, efforts would be made to reduce the complexity of applications for funding.
The guiding principle behind the Commission's new approach is to focus on the common aspects of European cultural heritage, with the aim of fostering greater cohesion between EU member states.
The Culture 2000 proposals were prompted by a growing recognition that, while the present programmes have stimulated the development of European cultural activities, resources have been spread too thinly to have a lasting impact. Many of the local partners involved in managing projects have also complained about the inflexibility of present procedures.
The new initiative, like all culture proposals, must be agreed jointly by EU governments and the European Parliament. Moreover, the ministers' approval must be unanimous. This has led to delays in the past as many governments, including Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, tend to regard cultural policy as an area for national rather than EU action.
|Subject Categories||Culture, Education and Research|