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Romanian artists protest over cultural institutions’ budget cuts

More than 200 actors and other people working in the cultural sector protested in Bucharest’s Victoriei Square on Sunday evening, June 30, as they are unhappy with the cuts in the cultural institutions’ budgets, which seriously affect the activity of these institutions. Well-known Romanian actors such as Victor Rebengiuc, Mihai Călin and Marius Florea Vizante were among the protesters, local News.ro reported.

Ion Caramitru, the manager of the National Theater of Bucharest (TNB), was also present at the protest, where he said that he urges the government to ensure the payment of technicians or approve their employment at the theatre. Caramitru said last week that, due to underfinancing, TNB would no longer afford to pay the technical staff that supports the operation of the theatre, which delivers up to seven shows at the same time.

Also present at the street protest, actor Mihai Călin said: “I came here for the cultural institutions - theaters, operas, national museums, because the funds were cut and the first hit by this was a very large group of our own technicians, our colleagues, people we can’t work without. It's like you, reporters, you take me an interview and you don’t have colleagues to film it, we cannot send our message.”

“It is a protest against budget cuts that greatly affect the entire cultural field. The independent structures have been the ones greatly affected so far, but now the situation has also reached state structures and institutions as well. It is basically impossible to continue decent activities in the state theaters,” playwright Mihaela Mihailov said, according to Europafm.ro. She added that this mainly affects the technical staff, but also all collaborators “who haven’t been paid for months.”

Meanwhile, culture minister Daniel Breaz announced that he would initiate a control at the National Theater of Bucharest to see how the money is spent. According to him, TNB had a budget of some RON 53 million last year, and this year has RON 57 million, Digi24 reported.

President Klaus Iohannis showed his support for the artists’ protest, and said in a Facebook message that the “disaster in the culture sector was caused by the incompetent government.”

“I support the artists who protest because of drastic cuts in the budgets of cultural institutions. Instead of enjoying this invaluable resource, we are called to defend the Romanian culture from bankruptcy. The disaster in the culture sector was caused by this Government of incompetence, through the budget of national shame built on false figures. The culture has now been placed at the bottom of the list, just like many other major Romanian goals. Artists and cultural institutions need our solidarity. They serve and represent our cultural heritage,” Iohannis wrote.

Meanwhile, the National Network of Museums in Romania (RNMR) also urged all the museums across the country to join a warning strike on Wednesday, July 3, as a sign of protest against the serious financial crisis of the cultural institutions, triggered by the major budget cuts, News.ro reported. “The museums in Romania, especially those subordinated to the Ministry of Culture and Identity, along with the other public cultural institutions under the authority of the Ministry, have been brought, in a very short period of time, into the worst financial crisis of the past two decades,” RNMR said.

[email protected]

(Photo source: Facebook/Fara Penali-Piata Victoriei)

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Newsroom
Romanian artists protest over cultural institutions’ budget cuts

More than 200 actors and other people working in the cultural sector protested in Bucharest’s Victoriei Square on Sunday evening, June 30, as they are unhappy with the cuts in the cultural institutions’ budgets, which seriously affect the activity of these institutions. Well-known Romanian actors such as Victor Rebengiuc, Mihai Călin and Marius Florea Vizante were among the protesters, local News.ro reported.

Ion Caramitru, the manager of the National Theater of Bucharest (TNB), was also present at the protest, where he said that he urges the government to ensure the payment of technicians or approve their employment at the theatre. Caramitru said last week that, due to underfinancing, TNB would no longer afford to pay the technical staff that supports the operation of the theatre, which delivers up to seven shows at the same time.

Also present at the street protest, actor Mihai Călin said: “I came here for the cultural institutions - theaters, operas, national museums, because the funds were cut and the first hit by this was a very large group of our own technicians, our colleagues, people we can’t work without. It's like you, reporters, you take me an interview and you don’t have colleagues to film it, we cannot send our message.”

“It is a protest against budget cuts that greatly affect the entire cultural field. The independent structures have been the ones greatly affected so far, but now the situation has also reached state structures and institutions as well. It is basically impossible to continue decent activities in the state theaters,” playwright Mihaela Mihailov said, according to Europafm.ro. She added that this mainly affects the technical staff, but also all collaborators “who haven’t been paid for months.”

Meanwhile, culture minister Daniel Breaz announced that he would initiate a control at the National Theater of Bucharest to see how the money is spent. According to him, TNB had a budget of some RON 53 million last year, and this year has RON 57 million, Digi24 reported.

President Klaus Iohannis showed his support for the artists’ protest, and said in a Facebook message that the “disaster in the culture sector was caused by the incompetent government.”

“I support the artists who protest because of drastic cuts in the budgets of cultural institutions. Instead of enjoying this invaluable resource, we are called to defend the Romanian culture from bankruptcy. The disaster in the culture sector was caused by this Government of incompetence, through the budget of national shame built on false figures. The culture has now been placed at the bottom of the list, just like many other major Romanian goals. Artists and cultural institutions need our solidarity. They serve and represent our cultural heritage,” Iohannis wrote.

Meanwhile, the National Network of Museums in Romania (RNMR) also urged all the museums across the country to join a warning strike on Wednesday, July 3, as a sign of protest against the serious financial crisis of the cultural institutions, triggered by the major budget cuts, News.ro reported. “The museums in Romania, especially those subordinated to the Ministry of Culture and Identity, along with the other public cultural institutions under the authority of the Ministry, have been brought, in a very short period of time, into the worst financial crisis of the past two decades,” RNMR said.

[email protected]

(Photo source: Facebook/Fara Penali-Piata Victoriei)

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