The Espectáculo Association – Portuguese Agents and Producers (AEAPP) was concerned and incredulous this Friday that the Government Restoration and Resilience Plan (PRR) to be presented in Brussels does not include initiatives for the cultural sector.
In a statement sent to the Lusa Agency, AEPP reported that “with concern and disbelief” “the almost general lack of any reference to culture and the lack of any concrete initiative aimed at” was noted in the PRR by Portugal, which the government on Consulted publicly on Tuesday. “If the listed pillars and priorities do not deserve any challenge, it makes no sense to us to imagine many of them without respect or promotion of their cultural dimension”, defends the association.
The PRR envisages 36 reforms and 77 investments in the areas of social, climate and digitization in order to gain access to the kovid-19 community funds after the crisis, and grants grants totaling 13.9 billion euros. Following a draft submitted to the European Commission last October and a discussion process with Brussels, the Portuguese government has launched a public consultation on the draft and summarized version of the PRR.
The AEAPP asks: “How can one speak of resilience by completely ignoring the entire cultural sector, which has been hardest hit by the pandemic, and not reserving a single initiative with the appropriate financial framework that will contribute to its future resilience?” In addition, the association asks “How can one speak of economic, social and territorial cohesion while ignoring culture and its crucial role in strengthening the same cohesion and the country’s cultural identity”.
For that association, the lack of references in the PRR to investing in culture “contradicts the assessment of the impact of the pandemic on government discourse and creates a lack of political sensitivity that will have very serious implications for highlighting the country’s entropies”.
In a statement, agents and producers also call on the government to allocate “2.5% of the funds for the so-called“ European bazooka ”to investments in the cultural field and that these investments have a concrete translation in some countries components of the structural dimensions of the action plan. Recovery and resilience ”. The appeal comes on the same day that nearly fifty personalities and artistic structures wrote an open letter to Prime Minister António Costa, in which they also criticized the lack of government investment proposals in culture in the PRR.
“Leaving culture out of this plan in the medium term will have far-reaching economic, social and political ramifications. At a time when democratic cohesion is a cross-cutting issue, it seems to us to be a grave mistake that our government does not invest in the future of a sector that is so fundamental to this cohesion, ”the open letter said posted in the PUBLIC newspaper and to the agency Lusa.
The signatories are personalities such as the director of the National Theater D. Maria II, Tiago Rodrigues, the historian Irene Flunser Pimentel, the director Jorge Silva Melo, the actress Maria do Céu Guerra, the president of the José Saramago Foundation, Pilar del Río, the programmer António Pinto Ribeiro, the cultural manager Miguel Lobo Antunes and the musician Sérgio Godinho. Among the dozen of subscribers there are also companies such as Acesso Cultura, Acção Cooperativista and Plateia – Association of Performing Arts Professionals, the Portuguese Association of Directors, the Association of Musicians, Artists and Independent Editors, film festivals such as Curtas Vila do Conde, IndieLisboa and DocLisboa , the Portuguese film agency Portugal Film and Short Film Agency, the network and PlataformaDança, festival organizers and independent audiovisual entrepreneurs.
The Portuguese PRR was publicly consulted this Tuesday after a draft was presented to the European Commission last October and discussions with Brussels took place. Loans of EUR 2.7 billion are also foreseen in the plan, although it has not yet been decided whether Portugal will use this aspect of the recovery and resilience mechanism, the main instrument of the European Union’s new recovery fund.
In an interview with the newspaper PÚBLICO published this Friday, the Minister of Culture Graça Fonseca reiterated: “In the next multiannual financial framework, culture must appear not only as a transversal sector, but as a central and strategic area in itself Consultation to submit proposals for the PRR.