5 Cultural Policy Resources in South East Europe
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HOME  E-library  Articles & Reports  1. Cultural policy: country profiles
1. CULTURAL POLICY: COUNTRY PROFILES
05.04.2002 | author: Raina Gavrilova
Cultural Policies in Bulgaria: interview with Raina Gavrilova
FIRST PUBLISHED IN
Beyond Borders; Kultura Supplement, 5 April 2002 www.online.bg/kultura/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Raina Gavrilova
is a researcher, Deputy head of the Theory and History of Culture Department at the Sofia Univesity "St. Kliment Ohridsky"; Former Deputy Minister of Culture; Currently Executive Director of the Open Society Foundation - Bulgaria.
Interview by Tsveta Andreeva, PfC

What have been the most significant changes in cultural policy development during the last three or four years (1997 - 2001)?
The main efforts during this period were to overcome the decrease in cultural activities, to provide stability for cultural institutes in Bulgaria, and to improve upon the new types of relationship between all those involved in cultural policy, through both legislation and also reorganizing the public subsidies system for cultural activities. We made significant progress in achieving a cultural infrastructure which is adequate for the needs and capacities of the country. A great number of new actors have entered the cultural field. And we have adopted and implemented key legislative acts such as the Protection and Development of Culture Act (1999), the Radio and Television Act (November 1998, amended 2000) and the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act (1993, last amendments in 2000).
We set up a grants scheme for funding cultural activities and implementing the mechanisms of project subsidies for state-owned cultural institutes broadened its impact, most particularly in the theatre field.


And what have been the main directions and strategies for development up to now and for the future?
The main strategic priorities of Bulgarian cultural policy, in conformity with the programme of the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria 2001-2005 are as follows: accomplishing the optimization of the cultural infrastructure; turning the principal territorial administrative units - municipalities and districts - into leading proponents of local cultural policy; preserving cultural identity together with fostering the diversity of cultures; involving Bulgarian children and young people in the development of Bulgarian and world culture; and improving the importance of the place of Bulgarian culture within the European and world cultural processes;

What are the most important steps toward new legislation?
The chief directions in terms of legislation are related to the effort to take immediate and efficient steps to provide for the normal functioning of Bulgarian culture. Three main legislative acts are to be adopted: the Museums Act, the Monuments of Culture Act and the Cinema Act. Some of the most important steps are to draft and develop new by-law regulations as well as to develop concrete mechanisms for their implementation into Bulgarian cultural policy and practice.

The principal of subsidiarity is a major issue for Bulgarian cultural policy as outlined in the above strategic priorities. It is being put into practice at several levels: at the decision-making and planning level, at the funding; level and in the relationship between the different cultural actors.


What is the level of involvement of the civil sector in these processes? And what is the level of partnership, according to your professional observations, between civil institutions and public authorities, both centrally and at local level?
The presence of the third sector in Bulgarian cultural processes is increasing measurably. A couple of examples of initiatives in draft legislation deserve to be mentioned: the preparation of the Cinema Act, which was initiated and drafted by the Union of Cinema Workers, and the Union of Library Workers who developed the project for the Library Deposits Act. The third sector is also involved in the funding of cultural activities through both submitting projects and providing grants. Representatives of the NGO sector in Bulgaria are initiators and active participants in public debates on cultural policy issues. The number of partnerships between public administration and the NGO sector is also increasing, notably in concrete activities. We should emphasize the important input from European organizations, programmes and projects, which has really intensified and encouraged these forms of cooperation. In fact, these partnerships are more intensive at local level rather than centrally.


What have been the major steps of Bulgarian cultural policy in recent years with regard to the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union?
In terms of legislation, Bulgaria has harmonized its legislation framework in accordance with EU accession requirements. Firstly, by the end of 2000, Bulgaria had completed Chapter 20: Cultural And Audiovisual Policy of the Negotiations Process of the Accession of Bulgaria to the EU. The accession process has some other aspects such as building the new image of Bulgaria as an equal and valuable partner within the European Union. Bulgarian culture, as the most convertible value that we indeed have, plays a principal role in this new image-making process.

In terms of bilateral and multilateral relationship development, we have taken part in some very important tendencies in recent years. For example, we have had more intensive cultural exchange which has been bolstered by considerable aid from international programmes and organizations, the effect of which may be compared to a real school of partnership. Bilateral partnership is a part of the accession process. A conclusion can be made that country by country, Bulgaria is drawing up a picture of its European partnership. And Bulgaria is strengthening regional partnerships at municipal, institutional and regional levels, which builds the linking capacity of cultural actors (both centrally and locally) and builds up these linking efforts into networks.

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