Hartman: Social protection for cultural workers must be expanded

Piret Hartman.
Piret Hartman. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Former culture minister Piret Hartman (SDE) said incoming culture minister Heidy Purga (Reform) will address the issue of social guarantees for cultural workers, despite the fact that the Reform Party has a different stance on the matter than SDE.

"I am very pleased that the new minister of culture will come from the cultural field and that she has been exposed to the relevant issues during her service on a Riigikogu committee," Hartman said.

One of the most serious challenges in cultural policy today, Hartman said, is the livelihoods and social guarantees of freelance art professionals. "This is a problem that must be addressed and solved, and this is where some coalition agreements have been reached," Hartman explained.

The new minister of culture will have to prioritize funding models. The funding methods and a rule-change for theaters are still up for debate, she said.

"It is also critical to figure out how to increase private funding for the arts and athletics. In the future, the issue of Ida-Virumaa and Ukrainian refugees must also be addressed. And we should implement a mobility-related reform in accordance with the Year of Mobility," Hartman continued.

During coalition negotiations, it was resolved to bring up the issue of social guarantees for cultural workers: "It was decided, for instance, that all state-paid compensation to cultural workers — subsidies and grants — would be taxed. Until now, neither were grants from the Cultural Endowment tax-deductible," Hartman said.

Despite the fact that SDE and Reform held different opinions on social protections for cultural workers, Hartman said that coalition bargaining table discussions were intense and substantial.

Purga believes that the issue of social guarantees for creators must be dealt with: "Yes, the alternatives were different but we have reached an agreement and can move forward," she said.

Ida-Viru County government representative

Hartman said that she had not been offered the position of government special representative in Ida-Viru County. "I think this person should be from Ida-Viru County," Hartman said, adding that she did not know who is considered for the job.

"However, having participated in coalition negotiations, I am aware that this position will fall under the minister of rural and regional affairs, or Madis Kallas, who will hopefully announce who will be appointed in the near future," Hartman continued.

The special representative should be in charge of Ida-Virumaa and state collaboration, she said, and "they could also bring additional Ida-Virumaa parties to the table."

Hartman said that she has not been offered the role of SDE general secretary.


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Editor: Mari Peegel, Kristina Kersa

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