November 25, 2020

Culture presents its budgets for 2021 in Congress amid criticism of the minister’s absence


The Ministry of Culture and Sports presented today the Draft Law of General State Budgets for the year 2021 to the Culture and Sports Commission of the Congress of Deputies, but Minister José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes has not appeared, as he did in March to report on the measures that his department had taken to deal with the covid-19 crisis. Instead they have presented the budgets Andrea Gavela Llopis, undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and Javier García Fernández, secretary general.

The 2021 Culture budgets increase by 25%: they bet on books and promotion while they freeze the cinema game

The 2021 Culture budgets increase by 25%: they bet on books and promotion while they freeze the cinema game

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“The pandemic that has hit all sectors of society hard, has hit the cultural sector particularly hard. Culture, for its part, has reacted generously and in solidarity, once again showing the enormous spiritual and material wealth that it contributes to our society “Gavela Llopis, who appeared for the first time in Congress, has begun his speech. “We approach, therefore, these budgets aware of the damage suffered by the cultural sector, an economic sector that represents more than 3.2% of GDP and endowed with enormous development potential, as well as the debt that our society has with the culture”.

In the turn of interventions of the members of the commission, the Ministry of Culture and Sports has received criticism from several members of the commission for the absence of the minister. Eduardo Carazo Hermoso, from Grupo Popular, and Guillermo Díaz Gómez, from Grupo Ciudadanos have referred to her. Especially harsh has been the intervention of Joan Margall Sastre, deputy of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, who has defended that “surely, and we are not pleased to say this, we are facing one of the worst ministries of this Government”, adding that the ministry “does not reacted in time to the covid-19 crisis “. He also pointed out that Uribes is “a minister who is often absent, who gives the feeling that he does not lead the management of these difficult moments for everyone and more so for the culture sector. And that he does not execute programs or have initiatives for the sector to have a little oxygen. A sector, Culture, already precarious before the pandemic. ”

Despite everything, the undersecretary has defended that the 2021 Culture budgets increase by 25% compared to the previous year, consisting of 1,148 million euros allocated to culture. However, as we already pointed out in elDiario.esIt should be taken into account that this figure is counting on the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan of European funds. Without it, the numbers for Culture would remain at 947.82 million, 3% more than with previous budgets. A figure that still does not reach the 1,284 million invested in 2009 (the highest in the last two decades).

Some PGE against COVID

In his speech, Gavela Llopis made reference to the increase in funds for the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (INAEM), of 15 million more in 2021. Some funds that “will make it possible to face the fall in own income caused for the COVID, as well as the maintenance of the aid programs for the music, dance and theater sectors “. INAEM’s total budget is 162 million, 5.5% more than in the current ones.

He also pointed out that the General Directorate of Fine Arts, as the managing center, will assume greater powers in terms of the provision of public cultural services, mainly through the network of museums and state archives, for 2021. And that, therefore, his departure increases by 4.5 million euros.

Regarding the cinema and the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts (ICAA), the investment “is based on the double objective of supporting the recovery of the audiovisual sector and moving towards a more competitive, creative, more digitized national audiovisual industry , more egalitarian, more international, more sustainable and innovative “, according to Gavela. The executive foresees an endowment for 2021 of 86 million euros, compared to the 100 rounds that he projected for 2020. With these PGE, those figures are returned and investment in Spanish cinema loses 14 million investment.

The item that does benefit the most is Promotion and cultural cooperation, with 27.13 million euros compared to 9.32 the previous year. They will be destined, among other aspects, to finance the Reading Promotion Plan (5 million euros) and an agreement to recover and intensify the socio-cultural relationship of the State with the City of Barcelona as a cultural and scientific capital (20 million euros) .

“Bulls are a controversial issue”

In October, Minister José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes was harshly criticized by different agents of the bullfighting sector due to an interview with the newspaper El Mundo in which he stated: “I should not encourage or recommend going to the bulls”. The issue of bullfighting has also emerged in the presentation of the PGE in Congress.

Javier García Fernández, Secretary General of the Ministry, told the commission: “We are aware that bullfighting is a controversial issue. No one doubts aid to the theater or the cinema, but those of bulls do. bulls have a social and labor dimension that must be helped and protected “.

Last Monday, November 3, the Government approved an extraordinary access to unemployment benefits for workers in the bullfighting sector. “Workers who were left out of aid in May and who the pandemic has prevented them from carrying out their work normally, due to the intermittence of the same and the cancellations,” according to the Minister of Finance María Jesús Montero. With these aid, workers in the sector will be able to receive a monthly benefit of approximately 775 euros per month.

The Government was thus responding to requests from the bullfighting sector, which in May presented the executive with a document with 37 measures to alleviate the economic crisis it is suffering due to the pandemic. A document, by the way, which contained numerous inaccuracies.

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