Simoniti talks Slovenia’s EU presidency priorities in culture in Brussels

Brussels – Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti met Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture and Youth Mariya Gabriel, as he was in Brussels on Monday to attend a session of the EU Council for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport and to present the priorities in the culture, media and audiovisual sectors during Slovenia’s EU presidency.

Culture ministers adopted two sets of decisions regarding the recovery and resilience of the culture and creative sectors and the recovery and overhaul of the media sector.

Simoniti said Slovenia supported a comprehensive approach to seeking solutions to a post-Covid recovery of the culture and creative sectors, especially unified mechanisms to draw EU funds and the option of drawing money from other EU funds.

The council also discussed diversification of funds and measures to protect European cultural heritage, with Simoniti stressing “diversification of financial sources available for heritage projects is even more important in crises such as the present one”.

He said the crisis showed culture and cultural heritage can be a generator of economic recovery, so it is key to channel more EU and national funds into the recovery and revival of cultural heritage, including in relation to tourism.

The minister said this was the reason the government was trying to secure various sources of funds for culture, while the country has a record culture budget this year, with Resilience and Recovery Facility funds also secured.

As for the EU presidency priorities, the innovative potential of culture and the competitiveness of European culture will be at the forefront alongside efforts to address the consequences of the pandemic in the culture and creative sectors.

“We will address a broad field of creativity, cultural rights and heritage, which present the basis for conceiving sustainable solutions and an EU development breakthrough,” the minister was quoted as saying in a press release from the Culture Ministry.

The Slovenian presidency will also promote European culture’s advantages – originality, cultural diversity and freedom of creativity – on the global digital market, while measures to make the European audiovisual and media markets competitive and sustainable will be further developed.

Two main conferences will be held during the presidency, one focussing on heritage to encourage sustainable development and the other on accessibility and competitiveness of EU audiovisual and media sectors.

Simoniti and Commissioner Gabriel also discussed the European Commission’s initiative New European Bauhaus.

The minister said it was about what Slovenia wanted to point to during its presidency – that sustainable solutions can result from engaging in a reflection on responsibility for the future of heritage and culture.

The release said that the 2025 European Culture Capital project of the Slovenian and Italian cities of Nova Gorica and Gorizia was met with much approval in Brussels.

The project running under the slogan Borderless was welcomed by the commissioner as well as the Italian and German culture ministers, Dario Franceschini and Monika Grütters.