Cultural Budget : Charge (but flee) !


"I promise that the cultural budget will be
entirely protected during the next presidential term
"
François Hollande

This sidestepping is a first in journalistic history. We thought that the new French Minister of Culture had a certain amount of courage. We were perhaps wrong. For the first time ever, the budget will not be presented to the Ministry during a press conference. We received the planned finance law for culture, (we were already familiar with its general outline), by email. But we will not have the chance to ask Aurélie Filippetti any questions. This is a shame because we had several in mind.

Is the minister afraid to face reality : François Hollande’s lie in which he promised, while still a candidate to the presidential election, to protect the cultural budget ? Or is this, on the contrary, her way of showing her disapproval ? We would like to think it is the second, but without much conviction. In fact, it looks more like someone deserting the battle field.

We know that budgets are always presented in the most favorable way possible for the government and that, in fact, the figures then have to be adjusted. This year, things are so bad that the numbers provided by the ministry, probably false in order to make them look better, speak for themselves. Heritage will see a cut of 9.80% !
Restoration and upkeep of historical monuments, which we know needs as a minimum around 400 million euros, will receive 303 million. If we compare this to the 2012 planned finance law (376 million), this is a decrease of 19.5%.
19.5% ! Given that the planned financial law is always optimistic (to use a euphemism) and that the real budget is lower, we should expect to see less than 300 million next year for historical monuments. Aid to the press will be of 516 million euros. We are told there is no money but in France, apparently it is more important to give 516 million euros to the press, leaving heritage to struggle with 303 million [1].

For museums, the planned finance law shows a decrease for acquisition funding, qualifying it as temporary. No figures are provided but we had already revealed it here : these cuts will be of 50 to 60% ! These are not cuts but a total collapse in funding. Restorations are not even mentioned ; these will also be affected (15 to 20% decrease) while at the same time reading in this planned finance law that "the Ministry requests French museums to concentrate on enhancing the existing permanent collections.". How can you enhance without restoring ? Here again, we find ourselves before an unprecedented notion.

We had often criticized the previous President of the French Republic for his cultural policy. At least Nicolas Sarkozy had maintained, in large measure, the budget for the Ministry of Culture and the cultural mission. François Hollande has not only lied to us. He may also go down in history as having been instrumental in destroying our heritage and our museums.

We encourage all of our readers at The Art Tribune to sign our petition to maintain the French Ministry of Culture’s budget. This is not asking the impossible : simply demanding that the President of the French Republic keep his word. Please sign and pass it around, in any way possible, notably Twitter and Facebook.

Version française


Didier Rykner, jeudi 4 octobre 2012


P.-S.

You may download the planned finance law for Culture as it was forwarded to us.


Notes

[1] The Art Tribune does not receive any aid to the press funding, is not looking for any and does not wish to accept any.



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