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A Statement Against the Planned Funding Cuts by the Nordic Council of Ministers

August 30, 2021

The Nordic Council of Ministers plans to cut funding for culture in the Nordic & Baltic region by 20-25% between 2021-2024. These funding cuts are aimed at the activities of several Nordic institutes in the region, as well as possibly the grant programmes of both Nordic Culture Point and the Nordic Culture Fund.

The cuts are a misguided plan especially in the current situation, where COVID-19 has upended cultural life and related economic activities throughout the Nordic and Baltic region. It is in actuality a situation that calls for increased support for funding, as many of the nations in the Nordic and Baltic region have already realised. Funding cuts in culture will not produce savings, but on the contrary, they will have adverse effects financially and in terms of the wellbeing, trust and connection between citizens in the Nordic and Baltic region.

Another crucial argument for increasing rather than decreasing the funding for culture in the Nordic & Baltic region are the challenges posed by climate change. The geographic proximity and decades-long heritage of cultural collaboration gives this region enormous potential to be a hub of positive, forward-looking and sustainable cultural life. We, the artists and cultural workers in this region, are ready to respond to the mission set by the Nordic Council of Ministers to make the Nordic & Baltic area ‘the world’s most sustainable and integrated region’. We have worked with civil society and partners from all the corners of this region, through cultural exchange, transmission of knowledge, translation of small languages and are committed to further develop our work in this context. We cannot achieve this goal if the core economic resources for Nordic & Baltic collaboration with a transparent and democratic funding structure are significantly diminished. The freedom of expression encouraged by the current system, which from a global perspective is something unique and worth preserving, should not be taken for granted.

In the long run, several generations worth of investments in the cultural sector, the foundation of all Nordic cooperation, are being compromised. The suggestion to cut funds, in the midst of a pandemic, one year after an approximately 5% cut in Nordic funding, is not only a bad idea in the short-term. In light of the effects on the cultural sector this last year, it could also have devastating effects on cultural and social developments, labour conditions in the cultural sector and the infrastructure that has taken almost a century to build up at a time when it is dearly needed – perhaps more than ever before.   

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THE ONLINE PETITION: bit.ly/nordic-baltic-petition 

INFO & LINKS

The cuts have been proposed by the Nordic Council of Ministers (https://www.norden.org/en/nordic-council-ministers).

A statement that criticizes the planned cuts by the presidium of the Nordic Council
– In Swedish (also available in Finnish / Danish / Norwegian / Icelandic): https://www.norden.org/sv/nyhet/nordiska-radet-kritiserar-kulturnedskarningar
– In English (a translation in a Google Doc): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LJPHsjcAESAumaO7luO2ymiqge0jgvEnZvTEjxNWoD0/edit?usp=sharing 

Nordic Council of Ministers funds Nordic Culture Point, Nordisk Kulturfond and the Nordic Houses / Nordic Institutes in Reykjavik, Äland, Greenland and Faroe Islands + some other activities as well. It’s not clear which activities the planned funding cuts would influence.

The funding was cut already in 2010 by 5%, here is a statement about this cut from the Nordic Council: https://www.norden.org/en/node/47619 

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