Bulgaria's Presidency of the EU Council is Halfway through but the Cultural Program has not Begun

Bulgaria in EU | April 17, 2018, Tuesday // 13:23|  views

The cultural program, chosen with a competition that had to accompany the Bulgarian Euro-Presidency and to promote our country to foreign guests, will happen with a long delay and few of the visiting foreigners will be able to see it.

The cultural calendar has been drastically delayed - three and a half months after the start of the presidency - there were only two events out of the planned 55. This was clear from the answers of Borislav Gerontiev, head of the National Culture Fund, which financed the events in question. The total budget for cultural events for the six months is BGN 4 million for projects in the country and another BGN 2.4 million for advertising abroad. The central events are very few - the opening and closing concerts - 350,000 leva have been allocated for them and the events of our embassies abroad - 900,000 leva. 

"Almost all the events that have been funded by the Culture Fund have yet to be realized, so far there are two - one in Varna and one in the Ivan Vazov National Theater in Sofia, because the teams of a large part of the financed projects asked for the deadline for implementation to be postponed for May and June, which was because the competition ended at the end of the year, people received the money late, and almost half of the budgets were reduced and the authors failed to prepare for an earlier date. The reason is that most events will be held on open air which means that appropriate conditions are needed, "Gerontiev explained to Sega.

He did not tell how exactly the events were postponed and when they would be ready. "I can not speak with numbers, we have a schedule and we keep track of it, and the authors are the right people and they send us invitations for the openings," he said. The head of the fund did not want to mention any event or exhibition in the capital or in other cities that people can visit at the moment. According to him, the active part of the program will only start in the end of April.

The Ministry of Culture also did not want to provide information on how much of the planned events in the rest of the cultural program were held, what their effect and whether there was a delay and divergence from the original plans.

Among the target groups of the cultural program are the general public in Bulgaria and abroad, EU delegates and diplomats, foreign journalists, foreigners residing in Bulgaria, young people aged 16 to 25, cultural circles and academic communities. The location had to be mainly in Sofia and Plovdiv. In fact, most foreigners will miss the events.

The selection of the accompanying program took place yesterday. From August to October 485 candidates fought for funding from the Culture Fund for up to BGN 100,000 per project. Culture Minister Boil Banov, head of the Fund's Management Board, explained that projects with high artistic qualities are being sought, but also with a highly communicative element. A total of 55 projects were approved for funding. The selection was made by a jury, which was not officially announced. The result of the election was accompanied by sharp criticism by drop-outs and non-authors. Unqualified candidates even asked the EC to review the procedure because they suspected the chosen were those who have personal connections. The answer was that the Culture Fund works with money from the Bulgarian taxpayers, not from European funds.

Among the most ridiculous events that got apporved were the "exposure" of a "carpet of roses" to the NDK under the sounds of Balkan music for BGN 39 000, the making of clay bricks in front of Largo in Sofia for BGN 29 000 and a project entitled "The chair as a symbol - influence of European design and architecture in post-liberation Bulgaria ". On the other hand, projects with famous Bulgarian opera singers Boris Hristov and Raina Kabaivanska, as well as the Oscar-nominated Theodor Ushev, were rejected.

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Tags: EU presidency, Bulgaria, cultural program, delay


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