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Performing arts chief: New culture minister has multiple issues to solve

Margus Allikmaa.
Margus Allikmaa. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Head of the Estonian Association of Performing Arts Institutions (Eesti Etendusasutuste Liit) Margus Allikmaa says that the new Minister of Culture, Tiit Terik, is expected to delve into issues that need to be solved as soon as possible. Terik took office Wednesday evening, replacing Anneli Ott, who resigned on Tuesday.

In Allikmaa's estimation, there are several issues which need to be delved into and solved. "Starting from the fact that children in the 12-17 age group essentially can't visit museums, theaters and concert halls (due to the requirements of the coronavirus vaccination certificate-ed.). A sensible solution needs to be come up with in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, The Ministry of Social Affairs and the Health Board, so that the children who have been tested at school could go to museums, theaters and concerts with these same tests."

"Another topic is related to the fact that due to fast economic growth, the salaries of cultural workers are behind from the state's average and this little money that has been allocated for cultural facilities won't help us," he said and stressed that cultural employees have been clearly humiliated. "The fastest step that should be taken immediately, is to find the means to compensate for the 12 percent increase of minimum salaries so that theaters and other cultural institutions shouldn't spend their scarce resources on it."

Allikmaa said the third topic is related to inflation and the fast increase in input prices. "Theaters, concert halls, museums, all institutions are using a lot of electricity for their main activities and it's a known fact that the electricity price has increased significantly, also prices of metal, wood and materials, which are used for making decorations have increased abruptly as well," he said, adding that all these expenses need to be covered with money arising from ticket sales, but due to the coronavirus, these are on a downward trajectory.

"Another issue that needs to be addressed urgently is the issue of amending the gambling tax law, but unfortunately it is too late," he stressed, noting that the new minister, however capable he may be, will probably not be able to catch up. "As a result, again, a large part of the money that has been used for culture and sports will go back to the general state budget and the budget of the Ministry of Culture."

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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