Cabinet Makes 'Building or Bust' Push to Fund National Museum
The Estonian National Museum's planned new building
( Photo: ERR )
The government has vowed that the Estonian National Museum will be built in the Tartu area without EU funding and proposed that all of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia's funds for cultural monuments be channelled toward building it.
The Cabinet also instructed the Ministry of Finance on March 15 to look for additional ways to balance the government sector budget.
Reports from the Culture Ministry are that a loan may be used to cover the shortfall, according to ETV, but in any case the intent - formalized yesterday as a direct proposal to the Cultural Endowment council - is to direct all cultural investment money to the Museum.
"It will take the Cultural Endowment 10-12 years to finance the entire National Museum project," said Rein Lang during Parliament's information hour on March 14.
The council of the Cultural Endowment will decide next week how funds will be distributed.
Meanwhile, Reform Party's coalition partner IRL expressed doubts in the plan at the March 15 cabinet meeting, calling it "raw."
"We all have a positive view toward the National Museum but how can we do it so that we do not start bursting the cultural sphere and the entire budget. I don't think we will reach any sort of decision today," Economic Affairs Minister Juhan Parts said.
Prime MInister Andrus Ansip also expressed doubt, but remained resolute. "The Estonian people have a duty to erect a building for the National Museum and the earlier we fulfill the duty the better," said Ansip.
The total cost of the Museum is 87.5 million euros, according to the Culture Ministry. Already 9.3 million has been spent.
The building is considered a national priority. In 1996, Parliament decided that it would be built in 2002, after the Academy of Music and Art Museum of Estonia buildings. Those two are now completed.