Croatia/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate  

4.3 Other relevant issues and debates

The debate about the status of the artist in particular regarding social security and pension funds remains one of the open questions of Croatian cultural policy. Several governments initiated consultations about the necessary changes in the system but it was always blocked by protests from the Association of Independent Artists. In 2014 this issue still remains open; the draft of the new Regulations about the procedures and conditions for the recognition of the rights of artists to have their retirement, disability and medical insurance paid out of the national budget of the Republic of Croatia was put to online public discussion, but still no changes are evident. However, the planned budget of the Ministry of Culture for 2016 drastically cut the funding for social security and health benefits, which opened up discussions on the probable change of the system in the near future.

Although widely publicly criticised, the proposal of the amendment to the Theatre Law was adopted by the Parliament and put into force in September 2013; it introduced changes in the decision-making process of appointing the commissary of the National Theatre in Zagreb, and in the establishment of the new National Theatre in VaraĹždin (see chapter 5.3.2). In 2014 a similar technical amendment to the Theatre Law was again made that relates to the decision-making process of appointing theatre commissaries/directors.

As a part of its’ strategic goal of support of participation of artists and cultural workers in multilateral programmes enhancing intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity, the former Ministry highlighted the importance of residency programmes during its’ mandate. The pilot research project on mapping residencies showed that although the funding for residencies has been increasing in the last couple of years, it still amounts to only approx. 3,23% of the budget of international cultural cooperation. In 2014 there were several events dedicated to residency programmes (co)organized by the Ministry, and additional online information on available residency programmes was also provided.

One also has to mention the Open Call on the nominations for the European Capital of Culture for 2020 in the Republic of Croatia that was opened in the June 2014. This also prompted the preparations of several cities for this nomination, which subsequently resulted in the elaboration of strategic documents on culture for the cities that were bidding for the title. The finalists were the cities of Dubrovnik, Osijek, Pula i Rijeka, and the city of Rijeka was chosen as the winner with the project entitled ‘Port of Diversity’.

Following the adoption of the revised Law in 2011, from 2012 Croatia has put in place a system of rebate (20%) that stimulates foreign productions for filming in Croatia. The growth in the number of productions and income has been almost 100% yearly. With no explanation, the current minister of culture failed to ensure an adequate budget for the rebate but also failed to renew the mandate of the Committee that is responsible for granting the right to rebates. This was debated in the election campaign and all political parties expressed their commitment to stabilize the system and make all necessary decisions as soon as the new government took office, following elections in September 2016.

Chapter published: 04-05-2017