The Ministry of Culture has outlined the priorities for next year’s 2020 culture budget, which totals €254 million.
The significant objectives include salary increases for culture workers, additional funding for Estonian language learning, continued investments in national cultural institutions, and in Team Estonia, since it’s an Olympics year. In addition, under the leadership of the Ministry of Culture, 2020 will be celebrated as the year of digital culture.
The government submitted the draft state budget for 2020, along with an explanatory report, to the Riigikogu on Wednesday, September 25th.
The Riigikogu adopted the state budget as a law on 11 December 2019.
The salaries of culture workers are approaching the Estonian average
Culture is the first and most important concept for ensuring the existence of the Estonian state, and those working in the field of culture must receive salaries commensurate with their work.
Based on the agreement concluded with the Confederation of Estonian Employees' Unions (TALO), the Ministry of Culture us increasing the wage fund for Ministry of Culture institutions by 2.5%. The same percentage of additional funds will be added to the wage fund for coaches. Thereby, the total amount is €2.3 million.
In 2020, the minimum wage for cultural workers being paid from the Ministry of Culture budget will be €1,300.
The national minimum wage will also continue to provide the basis for determining artist and writer salaries. The payment of salaries to creative people has ensured a creative truce, and society has accepted the idea that creative work is also work. The writer and artist salaries are paid by the creative unions in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, which guarantees the wages for the creative persons, which also include all social guarantees.
In 2020, the number of wage earners will be increased by two, so that 13 writers and 13 artists will receive regular salaries from their creative unions with the support of the government.
Increasing Estonian cohesion
People with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds must have the opportunity to participate equally in Estonian social life and to share democratic values. The more cohesive society is, the stronger our state and culture are.
In 2020, the Ministry of Culture will provide even greater support for adult Estonian language learning. An addition €2 million will be allocated from the national budget for this purpose, in order to accommodate the increased demand for free national language courses. The courses will be organized by the Integration Foundation (INSA) with the help of the Estonian Language Houses.
All residents will have the opportunity to continue watching ETV+, the Russian-language TV channel, because, in 2020, the Ministry of Culture will allocate €300,000 to continue parallel broadcasting of the National Broadcasting’s television channels. If parallel broadcasting were to be discontinued, it was estimated that 60,000 older TVs would no longer be able to see the broadcasts.
Investments in cultural and sports structures
Estonian National Broadcasting’s (ERR) TV complex does not comply with current safety requirements, its energy use is inefficient and the buildings are depreciated. A TV complex with up-to-date technology will be built on the empty lot between the current News and Radio Buildings at Gonsiori 21 and Kreutzwaldi 14 respectively.
The government has decided to allocate €22 million during the coming years for the construction of a new ERR TV complex that will meet today’s requirements. In 2020, the design work on the new TV building will continue.
The architectural competition for the new TV building was won by Kadarik Tüür Arhitektid with a design called Roheline lina, by Ott Kadarik, Mart Kadarik, Mats Põllumaa, Indrek Rünkla, Tanel Trepp and Mihkel Tüür.
The current building of the National Library of Estonia was opened in 1993. The building has become uneconomical and its layout is no longer practical. The communication systems also need to be thoroughly renovated. And the provision of new services is currently restricted.
During the next few years, the government will allocate €53 million for the national library for a thorough renovation, in the course of which, all the units of the National Archives, which are currently scattered throughout Tallinn, will move into the library. In 2020, the design work on the building will continue.
The renovation work will be carried out between 2022 and 2027. In addition to the €53 million already allocated, an additional €10 million will be allocated in the future for technological innovations.
The state, in collaboration with the local governments, aims to create a network of sports infrastructure throughout Estonia. For this, €6 million has been planned in the 2020 budget, in order to support the local governments’ multifunctional and year-round sports fields, including the construction of indoor football pitches.
Maintaining the song and dance celebration tradition
The tradition of song and dance celebrations is included in the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage as a unique cultural phenomenon in the world. We have an obligation to maintain this tradition. The survival of the song and dance celebration movement will be ensured by energetic cultural groups, and a motivated and educated leader, who is ensured all the necessary social guarantees.
Under the leadership of the Ministry of Culture, discussions are underway and the principles are being developed to ensure wage subsidies for the group leaders in the song and dance celebration movement. The culture budget for 2020 includes €1.2 million in subsidies for these groups.
The renovation and conservation of heritage sites will continue
Our heritage is best preserved when it is in constant use.
The restoration of valuable farm architecture will continue to be supported, since many unique examples of farm architecture, which characterize the Estonian landscape and are significant from the viewpoint of cultural heritage, have survived in Estonia.
In 2019, the Ministry of Culture provided €200,000 in assistance to owners so that buildings could be properly restored and put into use, thereby ensuring the vitality of the local cultural and building tradition. The pilot project to support farm architecture will initially last for four years, and its total funding is €800,000.
In 2020, the Ministry of Culture will also allocate an additional €1 million from the ownership reform reserve fund for the renovation of sites under heritage protection.
The renewal of historical city centres will continue. With the support of the European Economic Area and Norway, the Ministry of Culture will invest €3.3 million in heritage conservation areas between 2020 and 2024. This will help to find new uses for buildings in small cities that are under heritage protection, and bring together local governments in Estonia and Norway with similar challenges. In addition to the Ministry of Culture, the National Heritage Board and the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage will be participating in the project.
The implementation of the action plan called Digitalisation of Cultural Heritage 2018–2023
There are currently over 900 million heritage objects that are significant for Estonian culture in the state-run memory institutions. Only about 10% of them are digitalised.
According to the digitalisation action plan, the mass digitalisation of documents, publications, objects, art, photos and films will continue in 2020. At the same time, the long-term preservation and availability of digital cultural heritage is also being dealt with, for instance, by developing the Museum Information System (MuIS).
The objective for 2020 is making a large amount of the cultural heritage that can only be accessed on site at the heritage institutions available online.
Support for sports
2020 is an Olympic year – the Summer Olympics will be hosted by Tokyo, the capital of Japan, from July 24th to July 9th. For the Olympic year, the Ministry of Culture will add an additional €2 million for Team Estonia to the current €1 million available in the budget, so that the total support fund would increase to €3 million per year.
The budget includes €1 million for conducting the WRC Rally Estonia. Large sports events have a broad positive impact, because they simultaneously stimulate many economic sectors.
As of 2019, the Paralympic and Special Olympics movements have been part of the overall organization of sports, and thus, the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture.
Year of Digital Culture 2020
Under the leadership of the Ministry of Culture, 2020 is being celebrated as the Year of Digital Culture. And €200,000 have been allocated from the state budget for this project. The year’s activities are being jointly organised by the National Heritage Board, Estonian National Broadcasting and the National Library of Estonia.
Head of Communications