In a festive ceremony at the beginning of the sitting of the Riigikogu, Alar Karis took the oath of office of the President of the Republic and delivered a speech before the Riigikogu. President Kersti Kaljulaid also made a speech.
After that, the Riigikogu continued with its regular sitting to discuss the Cultural Development Plan 2021–2030. Minister of Culture Anneli Ott and member of the Cultural Affairs Committee Heidy Purga made reports.
The Cultural Development Plan 2021–2030 is a document that sets strategic goals for the cultural sector and it is a follow-up strategy for the document “The Fundamentals of the Cultural Policy until 2020”.
The development plan sets out that the shaping and implementation of the cultural policy is guided by our constitutional objective to guarantee the preservation of the Estonian nation, language and culture through the ages, as well as the principles of freedom of the arts and sciences, the right to property, and cultural diversity defined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
The Minister of Culture explained that the development plan had been drawn up as a joint creation of several ministries, the Government Office, the Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities, as well as a result of cooperation between experts and representatives of the cultural sector. The drafting of the development plan has taken into account various analyses and studies, expert opinions, international level documents, the results of public discussions and engagement events, as well as the results of the implementation of the Fundamentals of the Cultural Policy until 2020.
Ott noted that, when the preparations for drafting a new development plan had started at the beginning of 2018, it had been found that the new strategy document should lay down a clearer cultural policy vision that would also take into account the proposals of the actors in the sector and the ideas and opinions of people who cared about the future of the Estonian culture. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Culture, seminars and development discussions had been held, where representatives of the public, private and voluntary sector had been invited. Besides that, there had been several meetings with representatives of the ministries that were sectorally connected with the organisations, and other interested parties.
Ott said that discussion days had taken place in all counties in 2019. In autumn 2020, meetings with representatives of all sectors were held. The vision document “Culture 2030”, which was created as a result of joint cooperation and a contribution by all, sets the following sub-aims: to keep the Estonian cultural life strong and functioning; to ensure that the Estonian cultural memory is cared for and valued; and that culture and creativity are valued in the development of society. They will contribute to the overarching aim: the Estonian culture is viable, it is developing and is open to the world, and participation in culture is a natural part of every person’s life.
Ott said that one of the main questions was what imprint the global crisis had left on our culture and for how long it would continue to influence the sector. “The state has taken several steps to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the sector. If the cultural and sport sector received a total of 25 million euro of crisis assistance in March 2020, the supplementary budget adopted in mid-April this year allocated 42 million euro to the area of administration of the Ministry of Culture,” Ott noted. She added that that was important support that had helped keep the operational structures and jobs functioning. “The current crisis has shown to us how different sectors are interlinked and therefore we are pointing out in the development plan that it is necessary to support the institutions, organisations, creative persons and businesses in the cultural sector in overcoming the current crisis, in recovery and in adapting to the long-term impacts of the crisis,” Ott explained. She underlined that it was definitely important to increase the capacity of the whole cultural sector to prevent, mitigate and manage risks, and to prepare for future crises.
Ott pointed out that the time of the crisis had boosted changes and had dramatically highlighted the issue of digitalisation. “Culture 2030” considers it very important to take action to make the Estonian culture and culture in the Estonian language more widely available on digital platforms.
Ott explained that the development plan was a very extensive document that set out the general objectives. “And this development plan covers a large number of cultural managers, involving a very wide range of sectors. This development plan is not just a working document of the Ministry of Culture. It is a working document of the whole sector, which means that it cannot spell out in great detail who needs to do what, or which programme is going to be implemented. The programmes will emerge while the objectives of the development plan are being implemented,” the Minister of Culture said.
In conclusion, Ott said, “the Estonian culture is thriving, but it needs the common care of us all. We have a clear and strong vision of what the Estonian culture should be like in 2030, and we are capable of achieving these objectives with joint efforts of all parties involved.”
Member of the Cultural Affairs Committee Heidy Purga gave an overview of the discussion that had taken place in the Cultural Affairs Committee.
During the debate, Signe Kivi (Reform Party), Eduard Odinets (Social Democratic Party), Marko Šorin (Centre Party), Helle-Moonika Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Üllar Saaremäe (Isamaa) and Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa) took the floor.
Minister of Culture Anneli Ott replied to the interpellation concerning the valuing and protection of the Estonian vernacular architecture (No 82), submitted by members of the Riigikogu.
The sitting ended at 6.57 p.m.
Photos (Erik Peinar, Chancellery of the Riigikogu)
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)