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Dr Asta Vrečko assumes office at the Ministry of Culture

Yesterday, the National Assembly confirmed the 15th Government of the Republic of Slovenia and appointed Dr Asta Vrečko as the new Minister of Culture. The handover took place today at the Ministry of Culture. After assuming office, Ms Vrečko thanked outgoing Minister Vasko Simoniti for the handover note, outlined her vision for the management of the Ministry of Culture and announced a strategically oriented cultural policy that has been neglected for 10 years.

The outgoing Minister briefed the new Minister of Culture on the work carried out in the past two years. They discussed pending issues and projects that need to be pursued – among many, those related to the preservation of cultural heritage, cohesion and the Recovery and Resilience Plan funds.

Ms Vrečko and Mr Simoniti agreed to disagree on certain matters. The former announced that things would now be done in a rather different way. The work will mainly be directed towards establishing a new and strategically oriented cultural policy, since this has been completely neglected in recent decades. She added: "Our plan and goal is to put culture back on the political agenda and provide it with the support it deserves."

The outgoing Minister wished the new Minister of Culture a successful term of office.

Objectives for the term 2022–2026

In Slovenia, the cultural sector is characterised on the one hand by the absence of a systematic cultural policy and strategic reflection and, on the other, by the consequences of two major disruptions in the last two years – the COVID-19 epidemic and the attitude of the outgoing Government towards the cultural sector. Therefore the priorities for this term will focus on establishing a development-oriented, modern and inclusive cultural policy, regulating the media and the self-employed, developing a sustainable system of public tenders, strengthening systemic investment in culture, protecting cultural heritage, and systematically promoting culture and the arts, also at the international level.

The Ministry of Culture will once again become the protector and ally of culture and the spokesperson of all participants in the field and will aspire to establish conditions for the high-quality and equal development of all culture and art genres.

In the 2022–2026 term, the Ministry of Culture will, among other things, overturn some of the most controversial political decisions related to culture in the 2020–2022 period, assess the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic on culture and, based on the assessment, adopt a programme of rehabilitation and measures for the revitalisation of the field, improve the social status of self-employed professionals in culture, regularise the status of public media – such as Radio-Television Slovenia and the Slovenian Press Agency – in a way that prevents political interference in the independence of public media, establish a permanent and inclusive dialogue with local communities, public institutions, NGOs, amateur organisations and the self-employed in culture, prepare a 10-year investment plan for investment in public cultural infrastructure, amend the National Programme for Culture for the 2022–2029 period, and strive for the decentralisation of culture and its well-balanced development. 

The social role of culture will once again be recognised, defined and strengthened, because, as Minister of Culture Dr Vrečko says, it is the litmus paper of our society as a whole. Indeed our attitude towards culture reflects the progressiveness, solidarity and openness of both politics and society.