“Culture is the fourth pillar of sustainable development”, said Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture and Sports, in the debate on the Draft Law for the “Ratification of State Budget for Fiscal Year 2022”. She added: “It is a strategic developmental resource. Kyriakos Mitsotakis is the first Prime Minister who integrated the Ministry of Culture to the circle of productive ministries. Throughout the country, small or large-scale projects are under way, utilizing national and European, private and state funding. In the Ministry of Culture and Sports, all our policies, our actions and our projects aim to contribute more and more to GDP growth; to achieve the goal of self-financing, which we had set from the very start. Our main target is to implement actions that are realistic, developmental, investor-friendly, reformist, flexible and socially fair”.
As Madam Minister emphasized, “since July 2019, we have developed a clear, detailed and organized plan for Culture. Our priority – in parallel with the solutions to serious problems that we inherited from the SYRIZA government – is the development of realistic public policies with tangible and measurable results for our citizen’s quality of life, for cultural enterprise, for economic growth locally, regionally and nationally”.
The Minister of Culture and Sports, presenting the Ministry’s budget for 2022, noted the following:
- For 2022, the Ministry has the regular Budget appropriations of 338,000,000 euros, 30,000,000 euros from the Public Investment Programme and 50,000,000 euros from the Recovery Fund.
- The National Recovery and Sustainability Plan “Greece 2.0” comprises innovative projects and activities of Culture in the framework of sustainable development, with a total budget of around 600,000,000 euros. They include reforms in the cultural and creative sectors with an aim to strengthen it, to revive and highlight traditional arts and crafts, as well as the National Plan for dealing with the effects of climate change on cultural heritage and a series of projects for prevention and protection from extreme weather events in major archaeological sites, the “cultural prescription”, the reinforcement of the “silver economy” through activities and projects in Culture.
- In 2022 we expect improvement in the budget balance of the legal entities under public and private law supervised by the Ministry. The Organization for the Management and Development of Cultural Resources is expected to have improved budget balance; a typical example of that is the income from the shops at archaeological sites and museums, which grew 300% in relation to 2019, although we had a 60% decline in the number of visitors in 2021. Also, strengthening of the trade policy and in the transformation of ODAP 32,000,000 euros are invested from RRF funds are invested in the marketing policies and the transformation of the organization.
- In 2022, significant institutional reforms will continue, such as the five Museums becoming legal entities under public law, instead of ministry departments.
- From July 2019 to this day, 196 new projects were incorporated to the National Strategic Refence Framework 2014-2020. This is an increase of 110,1% compared to 2015-2019. Total legal commitments were doubled, an increase of 104,6% compared to 2015-2019, while expenditure increased by 180,9% compared to 2015-2019.
- Around 100,000,000 euros were added to the resources for Culture during the last 17 months, with 200 Cultural Development Programme Contracts.
- Archaeological works in public projects by third parties are implemented by the Ephorates of Antiquities of the Ministry, with a total budget of more than 60,000,000 euros.
- The direct-labour operations by the Ministry in 2020-2021 have created around 4,000 jobs.
- The Ministry has a defining role in the licensing of large private investments and public unity projects that kept lagging. Leading examples are the Hellenikon project and the Thessaloniki Metro. In 2023, Thessaloniki will have a modern metropolitan railway and a unique station-museum.
- Culture is linked to economic development and outward-looking collaborations between the public and the private sectors, to fully utilize corporate social responsibility and the cooperation with charitable foundations.
Lina Mendoni referred to the new great projects of Culture in 2022, with positive social and economic impact, such as the operation of Acropole Across, the restoration of the former Royal Estate in Tatoi, the regeneration of the National Archaeological Museum, with the international competition starting shortly, the creation of the Museum of Maritime Antiquities in Piraeus, where funding is secured from the NSRF, the Recovery Fund and private donors; and the completing of significant projects for local societies such as the Archaeological Museums in Chania, in Aiges, in Mesara, Crete, and in Samothraki.