Legislation is set to be amended to permit the use of Cultural Endowment Fund (Kultuurikapital) funds in the construction of a planned new TV house for public broadcaster ERR.
Heljo Pikhof (SDE), chair of the Riigikogu's Cultural Affairs Committee, said: "The culture committee adopted a decision on Tuesday whereby we will move forward with the draft amendments to the Cultural Endowment of Estonia Act and the Gambling Act, meaning that we will put them to the Riigikogu's great hall," referring to the main chamber where legislation is debated and voted on by MPs.
"We will be initiating two very important changes via these drafts," Pikhof went on.
The Cultural Endowment of Estonia contributes, with area-specific knowledge and flexible decision methods, to the variety and continuity of the areas of culture and sport, according to its website.
Pikhof added that this would bring the total number of key cultural objects eligible for Kultuurikapital funding to six, "provided that the Cultural Endowment Fund has the funds and the addition of the sixth cultural object does not impair the construction of the existing objects."
These existing objects include the National Library (Rahvusraamatukogu) in central Tallinn, currently undergoing extensive renovations.
There was consensus on the committee for adding the ERR TV house to the list in any case, Pikhof added.
Pikhof also noted that while the preceding five Kultuurikapital-listed objects were approved by the Riigikogu itself, ie. voted on, in the case of the TV house, culture committee approval of a proposal from the Minister of Culture was sufficient.
In other words current Minister of Culture Heidy Purga (Reform) presented the proposal to the committee, who then consented to the use of Kultuurikapital funds.
The committee's vice-chair, former culture minister Tõnis Lukas, (Isamaa), reiterated that new recipients of Kultuurikapital funds were permissible if doing so did not interfere with existing ones; this list can grow on a case-by-case basis once work on one building had been completed and paid for, he said.
The second item on Tuesday's culture committee meeting agenda was using funding from the Gambling Tax to help remunerate and provide social guarantees to those employed in the culture field.
Overall, Pikhof said were it not for recent deadlocks at the Riigikogu, the legislative amendments could have been adopted this year.
Tallinn City Government established the detailed plan required for the new TV house, to be situated on a plot of land currently used as a parking lot, between the Radio House (Raadiomaja) on Gonsiori in central Tallinn, and the News House (Uuistemaja) around the corner on Kreutzwaldi.
Design work dates back to 2018, while constructing the TV house is budgeted at €65 million. The project had been held up since then, including as a result of the Covid pandemic.
The facility once built will replace the current, somewhat dilapidated building nearby on Gonsiori.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mari Peegel