4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities
Since the implementation of the Ministry of Culture (1995), some general cultural policy priorities have been sustained over the years, concentrating mainly in the protection of heritage, promotion of reading and development of national networks of activities and facilities. From 2009, strategic importance has also been attributed to issues such as language policy (in the context of the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community), creative and cultural industries and international promotion of Portuguese artists and cultural institutions.
On the other hand, cultural policy has been largely constrained by budget limitations, which were already taking place before the 2008 global financial crisis, but became much more evident since (see chapter 6 and chapter 4.2.1). Nevertheless, in the past three years some sectorial programmes have been launched which are worth mentioning. In 2009, the Classified Heritage Restoration Programme targeted a particular form of patronage involving major infrastructure construction companies in major monument restoration projects. In 2010 a Strategic Plan for State Museums was launched and new guide-lines were established (for more information see chapter 4.2.2). In 2011 the Fund for the International Promotion of Portuguese Culture was formed as a programme within the Ministry of Culture to support financially the international activities promoted by the Ministry. Although this fund, which gathers revenue from a specific lottery tax stipulation, has no formal connection with Camões Institute plans which are mentioned in chapter 4.2.1. It is expected to operate within the agreement established between the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture (see also chapter 3.4.2). At the same time, the Portugal Music Export agency was set up, with the Ministry of Culture and professional associations from the sector among its partners. Also in 2011, following the last two decades of public investment in performing arts infrastructures, a National Network of Theatres was announced, similar to those already existing for public libraries and museums.