Croatia/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.1 Overview of main structures and trends

International cultural co-operation has been continuously listed among cultural and cultural development priorities. The Directorate for International Cultural Relations, European Affairs and Public Communication has two Sectors – International Cultural Relations and European Affairs and the Sector for EU Programmes and Projects, and six Services – the Service for Public Communication, the Service for UNESCO, the Service for Preparation, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation of EU Programmes and Projects, and the Service for Development and Coordination of EU Programmes and Projects, Service for Cultural and Creative Industries – Creative Europe Desk – Culture Sub-programme, and Service for International Cultural Relations.

The government established the Cultural Council for International Relations and European Integration following the provisions of the changed Law on Cultural Councils in 2004, while in 2013 this Council changed its name to the Council for International Cultural Cooperation. The aim of this Council is to better coordinate and plan international cultural cooperation activities. In addition to its consultative role in the distribution of grants, the Cultural Council for International Relations also has the task to suggest improvements in the coordination of planning and participation in international exchanges. In May 2006, the Council produced Guidelines for planning international cultural co-operation, and following the Cultural Council suggestions, the Ministry made some changes in the rules for distributing grants among which is the introduction of the additional deadline for financing international cultural cooperation projects in order to better follow the dynamics of international cooperation.

The government continues signing bilateral agreements and programmes of cultural cooperation; so far 48 bilateral agreements and 25 bilateral programmes have been signed. It is important to stress that the majority of projects financially supported by the Ministry of Culture are not based on the traditional form of "government to government cooperation" but on direct contacts between artists and arts and cultural organisations.

Strengthening cultural cooperation with other countries of the European Union is one of the priorities of international cultural cooperation. Such cooperation is based on existing links between artists and art managers; bilateral and regional programmes of cooperation; cooperation within the framework of international organisations such as UNESCO or the Council of Europe; cooperation within regional organisations such as the Council of Ministers of Culture of South East Europe (the Charter, signed in Copenhagen on 31 March 2005), the network of ministers responsible for cultural heritage sponsored by UNESCO, the Danubian Region, the Alps Adriatic Working Community, the Central European Initiative, the Quadrilateral Initiative, Adrian-Ionian Initiative, etc. The projects include post-war reconstruction, the return of stolen cultural assets, support for mobility, and cooperation in the field of policy-making, cultural itineraries, networking among youth, etc. Croatia held the presidency of the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe in 2007-2008.

In September 2013 the Croatian Parliament passed the new Law on the establishment of the Foundation "Hrvatska kuća" (Croatia House) with the aim to create an institution working on the promotion of Croatian culture abroad. The proposal was not broadly discussed, it is not mentioned in the Strategic plan of the Ministry of Culture and the Law itself does not indicate how this new Foundation would operate. The Foundation was established in 2014, and it opened its first call for proposals in June 2014, which resulted in the first 24 projects being accepted for funding in 2014-2015, while for the period 2016-2017 the Foundation supported 22 projects. During 2016, the government opened public discussion on the dissolution of the Foundation, the Law was abolished and the Foundation seized to exist.


Chapter published: 04-05-2017


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