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This article was first published in Amrapali Magazine in January 2015.

During the official sum up of a project, Filip Gunev, the Deputy Minister of Interior of Bulgaria announced that “Bulgaria has the third-largest cultural heritage in Europe.” The Project initiated aims at raising the administrative capacity of the workers of the Ministry of Interiors upon prevention and solving of crimes connected with the cultural heritage of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Mr. Filip Gunev further stated that “At the beginning of last year in his capacity of deputy interior minister current Minister of Interior Veselin Vuchkov and Minister of Culture Vezhdi Rashidov opened this project. The project that has ended has achieved several important things – besides raising the capacity, the experience exchange with our Italian colleagues, the database at the Ministry of Interior was expanded to include stolen artifacts, to aid our work in solving crimes connected with our cultural heritage.”

The Republic of Bulgaria, is situated in southeastern Europe, bordered by Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey and Black Sea. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometers, Bulgaria is Europe's 16th-largest country.

An initial process has been adopted with establishing the cultural heritage registry and on this Mr. Gunev mentioned that “We, as a country, should set the goal of meeting deadlines and accomplishing tasks and seek European resources – there are such. In the frames of the next few years we should be able to develop such a registry to aid our work as this is of great significance for us and would be of tremendous help.” Gunec explained, adding the first step had already been made through the establishment of that registry.

The ‘REGIONAL CULTURAL ACTIVITIES’ DIRECTORATE is a section in Ministry of Culture’s structure, which implements the state’s cultural policy. Some of its activities include: development of strategies and programmes, concerning cultural activities in cultural clubs (chitalishta); cultural integration of the minorities, as well as the implementation of measures for protection of gifted children in the field of arts.

On the other hand, the National Culture Fund is created on the base of the Law for protection and development of culture and starts functioning in November, 2000. The National Culture Fund supports the development of Bulgarian culture, by subsidizing different arts, cultural activities and authors. The governing body of the National Culture Fund is The Board of Managers. At the beginning of each financial year, The Board of Managers approves a plan for subsidizing particular areas of culture by different programmes.

The National Culture Fund was established by the virtue of Culture Protection and Development Act and its activity started in November 2000. Its main objective is to support the development of culture by raising, managing and spending funds for the purpose of pursuing the national policy in the field of culture as set forth in the Program of the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria for the respective period and in the Culture Protection and Development Act. The priorities in NCF activity are also in compliance with the criteria set forth in Chapter “Culture & Audio-visual Policy” of the EU Accession Treaty of Bulgaria.

The managing body of the National Culture Fund is a Managing Board chaired by the Minister of Culture. The members of the Managing Board are some renowned cultural figures, representatives of artistic unions and one representative of Municipalities, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Finance.

Financial resources for the fund are raised by a subsidy as set forth in the State Budget of the Republic of Bulgaria Act for the respective budget year and other sources of funding as set forth in article 31 of the Culture Protection and Development Act. Funds are predominantly granted for artistic projects aiming at the development of the cultural sector. The artistic projects are funded after the announcement of competitions under a program prepared and approved in advance by the Managing Board.

At the beginning of each year the Managing Board of the National Culture Fund outlines the directions of priority for which financial support is to be granted. The underlying principles of NC Fund’s work are transparency and competition. Individual artists, private, municipal and state cultural organizations are equally eligible to participate in competitions.

  • News Sources: FOCUS News Agency

  • Ministry of Culture (Bulgaria)

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