Minister wants more state funding for choir leaders, film, cultural studies

Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa).
Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

In its applications for the state budget strategy, the Ministry of Culture is seeking extraordinary financing for national wage subsidies for choir directors, an Estonian cultural studies program as well as an increase in funding for film production, Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) said on Tuesday.

"In order to maintain the Song and Dance Festival traditions, we will implement a national wage subsidy program for choir, folk dance troupe and orchestra directors, which is a precondition for ensuring that these professions are popular in the future as well, and that we will continue to have high-quality choirs, dance troupes and orchestras in the future as well," Lukas told ERR.

He added that as the humanities as a field of research has not received funding worthy of its meaning from research funding in recent years, the ministry intends to establish national programs for the research and development of the Estonian language and culture in support of Estonian cultural studies.

These in turn will be divided into a program in support of the scientific-level research of the Estonian language, history and culture, a program for the development of language technology solutions, and a program dedicated to the research and publication of classic Estonian literature and celebration of relevant days.

The Ministry of Culture also wants to boost the increase in state funding of Estonian film production.

"In recent years, filmmakers received large sums from commissions for the Estonian centennial program in addition to annual state funding," Lukas noted. "In their absence, there would be a setback in funding. To avoid this, we need to increase our annual funding accordingly. The moviegoing Estonian public loves our movies; the level of quality is high. Let it continue."

He also noted that the Ministry of Culture is in favor of wage increases for cultural workers, with the goal of increasing the minimum wage for cultural workers with degrees to the national average wage.

"We will also be applying for additional funding for other, already existing programs," the minister added.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Culture stressed that the government will be discussing all applications for funding and that nothing has been agreed upon until an agreement has been reached regarding all possible needs.

The Estonian government held its first discussions regarding the 2021-2024 state budget strategy at a Cabinet meeting on Monday.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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