Old new challenges in culture, directors of cultural institutions a problem for the ministry

Press conference of the Minister of Culture Bisera Kostadinovska Stojchevska/Photo: RSM Government

The Minister of Culture Bisera Kostadinovska Stojchevska boasted about the two major successes important for the state and citizens - the Ohrid region remains on the UNESCO list of world cultural and natural heritage with exceptional universal value and the declaration of Skopje as the European Capital of Culture in 2028.

The Ohrid region, according to the decision of the 45th session of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Committee held from September 12 to 17 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, includes the joint efforts of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Albania to protect Lake Ohrid and the region and announced that The Ohrid region will remain under the watchful monitoring of UNESCO for the implementation of the undertaken obligations.

- In order to achieve success in this, it is necessary for everyone to bear their part of the obligations and the central government, and the local self-government, and the institutions as well as the citizens. The implementation of the indicated measures for the rehabilitation of the region will depend on our cooperation. All obligations are correctly addressed. Many of the recommendations have been started, but their full implementation remains, such as the recommendation to finalize the declaration of Studenchisko Blato as a Nature Park and Ohrid Lake as a Nature Monument, drawing up new GUPs for Ohrid and Struga, to continue addressing the problem with illegal buildings and to ensure that those that have been removed will not be restored, but also that new ones will not appear, said Minister Kostadinovska Stojchevska.

She reiterated that the Committee highly values ​​the adoption of the Strategic Plan together with the Republic of Albania as confirmation of our sincere intentions to preserve the status and readiness to work at home and for intensive cooperation with UNESCO.

- Although we are slowly moving away from the list of World Heritage in danger, we must not invent the fact that only our failure to act on the recommendations will be the reason for the registration of the Ohrid Region as an endangered world natural and cultural treasure. We are only his heirs. One of the many before us and after us. The importance of the Ohrid Region is immeasurable and permanent", added the Minister of Culture.

She also referred to yesterday's awarding of the title "European Capital of Culture for 2028" by the European Commission in Brussels, after yesterday's presentation of the applications of the countries that were shortlisted for this prestigious title.

Minister Bisera Kostadinovska-Stojchevska did not give more details about which projects and with what budget they competed together with the City of Skopje for this prestigious European title, but she emphasized that she will soon announce that project together with the mayor Danela Arsovska.

- Once again we have shown that culture does not need a subject for divisions, but culture should rise above all divisions. I am glad that the Government and we as a ministry were able to help in that process and I think that it will only represent a very beautiful story and a bright spot in the development of Macedonian culture, said the minister and added that the Government will help the implementation of all the necessary projects when asked of them.

For the Philharmonic, the library and the filmmakers

In relation to the burning problems that the Ministry of Culture was facing these days, i.e. in the previous period, the dispute between the Philharmonic and the Jazz Orchestra, the reduction of the budget of Film Agency and the relocation of the Tetovo library, the minister gave explanations and summarized them as attempts at manipulation by the summoned directors and managers of several cultural institutions.

- I talked to the filmmakers and pointed out to them that the film budget was not cut, neither on the basis of the redistribution of budget funds nor on any other basis. Funds for the realization of current film projects are not frozen, but only those that have not started with realization. All the money is in their account, and the Film Agency, which has two accounts, a budget account and its own, has not submitted a payment plan to MK, that is, it did so on September 14, in my absence, although it should have previously submitted to the ministry after which we disburse the funds. All their money is there, they just can't see it while the assembly is debating the redistribution. The realization from the Agency's account is less than 30 percent, all their money is there. It is incorrect that there is a cut. When they meet all the conditions for recording - secured co-producers, bank guarantee, the ministry will provide financial resources. No project is in danger, but I cannot answer for when the director of the Film and Management Agency will send a payment plan, Minister Kostadinovska Stojchevska is decisive.

She also referred to the dismissal of the Board of Directors and the director of the NU Philharmonia, Tina Ivanovska, with whom she was previously accused through public correspondence of the events in this national institution, while Ivanova claimed that she was dismissed due to the disagreement in the premises of the Philharmonia that the newly formed NU Jazz should function. Orchestra, and the minister emphasized that she was fired only because she negligently managed a state institution and state money, which was confirmed by the inspection controls that Stojchevska sent to the Philharmonic. The inspections checked the documentation for the "Women's Convention" event that took place on May 7 in the Philharmonic and a series of irregularities in the actions of the Board of Directors and ex-director Ivanova were determined.

- How are the people hired who, according to them, should protect the institution, that is, 1 coordinator, light, engineer, etc. and there is no evidence of how many of them were used for the event. It is not shown how and who they are, that is, the institution told us that employees of the institution were hired by the organizer, but there is no documentation, which means that the director violated the rules of the Board of Directors. The minutes from June of the State Labor Inspectorate show that the organizer hired people to handle and manage the equipment of a state-owned facility, which allows possible unprofessional and negligent handling and the possibility of damage to the equipment, which means that the director allowed the hiring of outsiders to handle the equipment in the Philharmonic recklessly, said the minister.

She also noted that the invoice for this event, which was supposed to be paid on May 3, was paid on June 16, and due to the delay, interest was not charged. "It means that the state budget is being damaged," she added.

Kostadinovska Stojchevska stressed that the jazz orchestra was only supposed to function temporarily in the premises of the Philharmonic, which it had used in previous years, but after the establishment of the National Jazz Orchestra Institution, the ex-director no longer gave them the opportunity to practice as before, arguing that their space was being destroyed . Soon the Jazz Orchestra will be able to move to the new premises and continue working, the Minister promised.

The ministry also had obstructions from the director of the Tetovo library, after they decided to the library is temporarily dislocated from one to another, a larger room in the Cultural House in Tetovo, so that a European House can be opened in the same building.

- A new, modern building for the library in Tetovo will be built at a new location, but until then they only had to move, but for unknown reasons, the director of the library obstructed all the commissions of the ministry and the attempts to make a survey and draft for the space in the library , while spreading lies and falsehoods that the library will be closed, said Minister Kostadinovska Stojchevska.

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