Culture sector faces budget cuts
As the Flemish Parliament approves the budget laid out in Monday’s September Declaration, the culture sector learns how much subsidies it will lose
“The minister said that the cuts were lower in percentage than those being applied in neighbouring countries,” said Oko in a memo to its members.
The key cultural organisations – such as Opera Vlaanderen, Ballet Vlaanderen and deSingel – are set to lose the least amount, with budgets to fall by about 2.5%, while museums and heritage organisations would lose some four percent of their subsidy.
Organisations that benefitted from support under the Kunstendecreet (Arts Decree) would see the biggest drop, amounting to 7.5% in their government subsidy. Oko warned Gatz that the cuts would have “serious negative consequences” for organisations that already face financial difficulties and that they would almost certainly be forced to lay off staff.
“The minister emphasised that he was confident that the cultural landscape would remain secure despite the measures,” Oko said. The new measures will apply until the government approves a new Arts Decree in 2016.
In related news, the Flemish Parliament approved the budget announced by minister-president Geert Bourgeois last Monday during the annual September Declaration. The voting went along party lines, with the majority parties – N-VA, CD&V and Open Vld – voting in favour of a budget that needs to save €1.16 billion.
A lively debate preceded the vote, with SP.A’s opposition leader, John Crombez, asking: “What was the moment that you began to see Flemings as a troublesome cost?” Groen fraction leader Bjorn Rzoska, meanwhile, said: “Saving, saving, saving and more saving is the mantra of this government. But what else do they want to do?”
The majority pointed out that they were able to make the necessary savings in order to balance the budget without raising taxes. “I already perceive optimism and hope in society at large,” said Bourgeois.
Government of Flanders
million people live in the Flemish Region.
provinces constitute the Flemish Region: West Flanders, East Flanders, Flemish Brabant, Antwerp and Limburg.
number of years for which the Flemish Parliament is elected. Its elections coincide with those of the European Parliament.