Ljubljana – The opposition Social Democrats (SD) have urged Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti to immediately resign after it has become clear that several prominent independent culture producers or artists were left without funds as part of a 2022-2025 call for applications worth EUR 3.8 million.
SD MP Marko Koprivc said on Thursday Simoniti “has done more harm in culture and the other areas he covers than all the previous culture ministers after 1990 put together”.
He said that “some of the most important and most prominent culture workers in Slovenia have been left without funding for the four-year period”.
Media reports suggest these are choir Carmina Slovenica, alternative musical group Laibach, festival City of Women, theatre company Glej, performing arts producers Zavod Maska, Zavod Emanat and Center Delak, and the Nomad Dance Academy Slovenija.
Koprivc said these organisations had been left out because the state wanted to punish them for being too critical towards the government, which he finds unacceptable.
He believes that what is going on in Slovenia in culture is “shameful and unworthy of a democracy in the middle of Europe”.
A similar view was presented by MP Aljaž Kovačič from the Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ), who said that this was yet another attempt to destroy NGOs in culture.
He regrets that those “who make Slovenian culture richer and present it around the world” will be harmed, adding it would be utopian to expect Simoniti to do “anything good for Slovenian culture”.
Primož Siter, an MP for the opposition Left, said that the Janez Janša government “has been intentionally destroying Slovenian culture since the start of its term”.
Simoniti’s action pushes culture NGOs, their programmes and staff “to the brink of survival”, and this has “a very clear political dimension” because these organisations are critical of every government’s activity, while the Culture Ministry and Simoniti should be “the first advocate of Slovenian culture and artists”.
Siter said that there “are some top-quality culture ambassadors of Slovenia abroad” among those who did not received funds.
The ministry has meanwhile announced it will provide an explanation as to why certain organisations have not received funding.