Meagre funds allocated for Culture
29 November 2020, ‘Haravgi’ newspaper
Article by Giorgos T. Georgiou, AKEL Limassol District Secretary
The 2020 state budget includes a budget of 15,387,173 million euros – approximately 0.002% of state expenditure allocated for Culture. It is in reality a budget without substance and a vision, which in the conditions of a pandemic is developing into a collateral damage of this crisis. It is quite clear that the government ruling forces consider Culture, the Arts and Letters, artistic creation in general of secondary importance.
Policy on Culture demands the implementation of a comprehensive strategic plan. In particular, a significant increase in expenditure on Art and Culture is required, especially now that cultural creation is among the areas most severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to estimates released by the European Commission, those employed in the field of Culture, in the first months of the pandemic have lost 80% of their turnover. Given that the European sectors of culture and creation account for 4% of European Gross Domestic Product and more than 7.4 million jobs in the Europe of the ’27 ‘, one can easily comprehend the magnitude of the negative impact as a whole on the socio-economic life of member states
In addition, it should be noted that precarious working conditions are prevalent in the wider area of Culture. Most cultural workers are self-employed with little or no social security protection at all.
We support the establishment of a Deputy Ministry of Culture, which can and must give a new impetus to Culture. However, without a vision, program and above all the necessary funds, I am very afraid that the endeavor will be a mission without a role and mission, while the government does not seem to realize it.
The replies given by the Minister of Education P. Prodromou have also caused a sad impression, who, in fact, on the defence and having no arguments to put forward, frequently resorted to irrelevant statements.
The government is now proving both in theory and in practice that it doesn’t value artistic creation, nor does it respect artists themselves. It considers them more as a burden on the Budget which is precisely why they are constantly being undervalued and depreciated
Today when artists and creators of culture are being tested by the coronavirus pandemic, the state itself is turning its back on dance schools, conservatories and theatres, on actors, directors and performers in general, demonstrating its social insensitivity.
We stress once again that for us culture and the Arts cannot be measured with a ‘balance the books’ approach. Culture throughout Cyprus’ historical course has been our comparative advantage, the lifeline for our survival in the land of our ancestors. Cyprus endured because of its history, culture and its creators. For that reason, the Arts and Culture are a life-long investment and that’s the only way they can be perceived.
AKEL will continue its struggles for culture, aiming to forge a broad front to defend arts and letters and the work of culture creators, asserting their inalienable rights, primarily to bring the arts and culture to our lives.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
- Feb26 2015-02-26
- Nov13 2014-11-13