[RO] State aid scheme for the cultural sector

IRIS 2021-1:1/6

Eugen Cojocariu

Radio Romania International

On 18 November 2020, the Government of Romania approved a Memorandum for the elaboration of a state aid scheme to support the cultural sector by allocating grants to cultural operators affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in order to help them resume their activity (see, inter alia, IRIS 2011-2/5, IRIS 2018-8/37, IRIS 2019-2/22, IRIS 2019-4/28, IRIS 2020-5/30, IRIS 2020-6/4, IRIS 2020-7/12, and IRIS 2020-8/19).

The state aid scheme has a ceiling of EUR 100 million. Following a new series of discussions with representatives of Romanian artists, the Romanian Deputy Prime Minister, Raluca Turcan, said that the state aid scheme for culture would be finalised with the support of artists. The period during which potential beneficiaries can register in the Register of the Cultural Sector has been extended until 9 December 2020.

The state aid scheme covers five measures, and the eligible beneficiaries are private law entities: non-governmental organisations and companies (both SMEs and large enterprises) who, according to the activity report kept by the applicant's legal representative, have carried out activities in the last two years in one of the following cultural fields: performing arts (theatre, music, dance), visual arts (painting, sculpture, film, photography), heritage, literature, audiovisual production and cultural education. On the date of submission of the project, they must be registered in the Register of the Cultural Sector managed by the National Institute for Cultural Research and Training, an institution under the authority of the Ministry of Culture.

The scheme takes the form of two types of grants: micro-grants with a fixed value of EUR 4 000, and variable grants related either to the sale of books in 2019 or to the number of tickets sold in 2019, with a maximum ceiling of EUR 800 000 for each beneficiary.

The Ministry of Culture announced that the legal act for approving the state aid scheme for the cultural field would be discussed with potential beneficiaries in order to improve it. This announcement was made after representatives of the government and the Ministry of Culture had a series of meetings with members of the cultural and creative sector and artists, prompted notably by certain ambiguities in the public sphere regarding the way in which the state aid scheme would be implemented, as well as the categories of cultural operators to which it would be addressed. More than 90 well-known Romanian artists wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Ludovic Orban requesting the inclusion of artists in the state aid scheme in order to support the cultural sector.


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This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.