Lucien Romaccano. Photo: Agerpres.
“Ongoing Issues” – Telephone Intervention by Minister of Culture Lucien Romashcano
Radio Romania News – Presentation: “The Problems So Far” – Director: Alexandra Andon – Minister Lucien Romashcano You have in the Ministry of Culture 23 projects funded this year on the occasion of National Culture Day. How was this program designed and what are the highlights?
Lucien Romashcano: Yes, this is one of the actions of the Ministry of Culture. Unfortunately, there could be more, the budget was limited, and there were only 500,000 lei for this selection of projects for Culture Day. It is a good thing that culture is first and foremost what binds us, it is that transparent feature that holds us together, but it consists of those who, by the gift received from above, may produce things for the Roman spirit and these people. They are mainly in the private domain, and unfortunately this area was neglected with a meager budget last year. We have, of course, two options as the Minister of Culture when culture is on the last table: resign or respond. I proceeded to respond. I also had the support of my colleagues, and this year the budget of the Ministry of Culture is 45% higher than last year, and everything that means a priority project in the Ministry of Culture, everything that means funding through the institutions under which the Ministry of Culture is funded, including the Ministry, such as AFCM or CNC , it will have enough funds to support a culture of epidemics in these harsh conditions. We fought, we did a few things in the short period since we took office, and we got 50% of the seats to be filled in a context where it was only 30% for more than 3 per thousand…
Director: In theaters.
Lucien Romashcano: In theaters, theaters and cinemas, there is an opening, because the world has realized that once you close for two years, there is a lot, once you close a place where culture is produced, and not only, and in the economy that’s right, it will be very difficult to start. We have announced, unfortunately, that it has not been announced, in the past years we have funds, at least 148 million lei in this year’s budget to be allocated to the state aid program for cultural workers. It is a very important step that we have been able to achieve in this year’s budget. We managed politically, and now hopefully the government will pass an amendment to Emergency Law 118 to include public cultural institutions among those for which differences in energy costs are compensated, and we reopened the debate on copyright law, and there was an amendment there that somehow moved the authors’ money to the ASCM, Which isn’t quite right, and we’ll do it through mods so the money stays with the authors. There is an emergency decree on the department to compensate for income during the pandemic, the so-called technical unemployment, but it also refers to cultural institutions and those who have collected copyrights. There are a lot of things that we try to do in very turbulent circumstances. You saw the manifesto of the Hungarian theater in Cluj, which is not the only one, in January costs …
Host: I really wanted to ask you this question, if there are other cultural institutions in the Hungarian theater situation in Cluj with that huge bill for natural gas for heating, so big that it’s all budget, practically, it should be.
Lucien Romashcano: Yes. We can’t leave things like that. It is certainly only part of Roman life, hospitals have problems, schools have problems, everyone has problems, and we have a political agreement to include cultural institutions in the reparations scheme. Obviously you can’t have a 45% higher budget, and it’s all about heating costs, it’s not acceptable, we won’t accept that. I hope we don’t end up in a situation where we have to reduce our activity in order to save money. You asked me how much, and I asked all of the ministry’s institutions to send us estimates for January, an estimate of over 4.5 million lei in energy costs. It’s too much for the culture. In general, there is little, and I hope we get this compensation, but for a sector that needs money, after two years where – I am sorry to say – the Ministry of Culture was a kind of accounting firm that took money from on the one hand and gave it to the other, I tell you that more than 82-83% of the budget of institutions under the Ministry of Culture went to salaries, so there was not a lot of money for programs, projects and awards. In this budget, we have room for what art and culture means and we don’t want to let that money go to our gas and electricity suppliers.
Host: State institutions are complaining, private institutions and private theaters are complaining. Can it be supported?
Lucien Romashcano: Of course. I repeat, we have this state aid plan, which we are implementing until March 1. Award criteria are currently being worked out. At the same time there is my desire that I will discuss with the large entertainment establishments of the Ministry, so that there is access to space for independent theaters and independent cultural workers, because there are hours, there are moments, there are days when the big stages are not played, they can be made available to independent operators. In the field of fine arts, we will increase the amount allocated to the acquisition of contemporary art. Last year it was my 2 million program, and this year we’ll have it too. We try to support as much as we can, because in the end it’s a mix, right? Culture does not take place in the state or in the private sector, especially in one place or another. It is the result of a spiritual need that is satisfied by those who have that call. We want to support everyone with this call. There are all kinds of other programs that we keep in mind. I am happy to find openness in my fellow culture. I hope now that we have enough government intelligence that incidents like energy prices don’t deprive people of what they deserve.
Director: Minister, you know that a number of artists want to protest tomorrow in Victory Square, because they say that they have only received promises so far, and they say that there are thousands of professionals, companies, artists and workers who have been ignored by the authorities in the past two years .. millions of euros in 2020 and 2021 And – they say – a normal country that does not prevent its citizens from working without offering them anything in return.
Lucien Romashcano: I totally agree and understand their approach. That’s why I initially included what will happen next. Many of their claims will be resolved through the assistance scheme, which means technical unemployment, including support for those who have copyright, under Law 8, since the money they produce, you probably know the details: in the collective management bodies there are too many sums Unclaimed, because users don’t mention what the authors have in the playlist, etc, and those unclaimed amounts at some point, through an edit, have to leave the authors. We’ll make sure to leave that money to them. There are many things we do to meet their demands tomorrow. I repeat, I am with them, and I tell you one more thing: the Ministry of Culture is the lowest-paid institution in the central administration, and I really appreciate my colleagues in the Ministry because they work more for the vocation of the profession than for the sake of existence. I will do my best to bring the Ministry of Culture into line with the other ministries. I repeat, probably everyone who remembers what I did in the Ministry of Culture, after 27 years of working in the private sector, remembers that it was the result that guided me. And then I do everything I can to get a tangible result. I shouldn’t see myself, I should see myself – I said at one point.
Reporter: I come back to Minister Romacano with the following question: When will the series of projects funded by the National Recovery and Resilience Program begin?
Lucien Romacano: We’re already working. The Ministry of Culture has a “huge” €18 million included in the PNRR. I hope we can re-evaluate this /…/
Host: Shared with the Ministry of Tourism?
Lucien Romacano: No, this is only the money of the Ministry of Culture, I don’t know the scale of tourism. There is also money in MIPE, the European Ministry for Investments and Projects, for some cultural tracks. At the moment we are in a situation where we are proposing the necessary GDs to have the project selection mechanisms, so that the milestone can be preserved, which is March. In addition to PNRR, which I repeat is not very generous with culture, we also had a project management unit about to finalize a loan agreement with the Development Bank of the European Commission in the amount of €216 million, which includes the most important projects is the desired National Museum of History, but there are others They were caught there and we want, and we have political signals that it could happen again, to resume the palace hall in the Ministry of Culture, so that we have a Bucharest concert hall in the right parameters.
Host: It’s the end of this interview, I can’t help but ask you: You’re in isolation, you’ve been confirmed with COVID, how do you feel?
Lucien Romacano: I feel sad, I tell you frankly.
Host: Sad but coughing.
Lucien Romacano: I’m coughing a little more. I don’t have any symptoms at all, the only thing I’ve had is a slight sore throat, but, well, I’ve been vaccinated, I’ve had the disease once before. I tell you of great sadness because I also wrote on Facebook the most beautiful week in the year of a minister, knowing that the minister spends a year in the Ministry of Culture, which is this week with Culture Day. They’ve been wonderful things happening these days, I can only see them from a distance, and unfortunately I get back to work on Monday as we move forward with the promises we want to keep. And that you were talking about that dictionary, I tell you now in the most honest way, that I have an idea here, as a Romanian speaker, and not necessarily as a minister of culture. I think we should do more to protect the language, and the fact that we enrich it by borrowing words that already exist, but with different meanings, can be good, and they can be bad. I couldn’t see /…/
Host: Let’s see what the dynamics of this phenomenon will look like over time. Minister Lucian Romacano, thank you for participating in today’s edition of “Probleme la zi” on Radio Romania Actualitatii.
Lucien Romacano: Thank you very much and let’s hear from you soon!
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