EU's Creative Europe programme promotes Balkan culture


The Union allocated 1.5 billion euros for cultural and media projects.

By Marina Stojanovska for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 28/08/14


The Tri publishing house in Skopje used EU funds to translate books into Macedonian. [Tomislav Georgiev/SETimes]

The European Union’s Creative Europe programme is making 1.5 billion euros available to support regional cultural organisations, including cinema, and for translating books into regional languages.

Albania will sign a memorandum of co-operation with the European Commission that will provide financial and legal guarantees for the country's culture, said Mirela Kumbaro Furxhi, Albania culture minister.

"If this is implemented, it will directly assist Albanian artists," she said. Creative Europe also encourages the countries to set up cultural networks, and establish multi-ethnic cultural platforms through national and regional projects.

Macedonia has used EU funds to help finance 86 culture and media projects in the past five years.

"The projects allow for strengthening of European cultural co-operation on a national and regional level. Several projects have become examples for successful regional co-operation among organisations from Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, and have grown into a European story," a spokesman for the Macedonia culture ministry told SETimes.

The way the programme is structured fosters a regional approach, and it would not have been possible to translate authors from Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria without the EU financial support, said Bojan Sazdov, editor of the Skopje-based publishing house Tri.

"This is a step forward in rapprochement of the region because we're bringing the literature from the countries of the region closer to our readers," Sazdov told SETimes.

The EU programme is also a great opportunity for the creative industries whose quality has been recognised internationally, according to Denisa Sarajlic-Maglic, Bosnia and Herzegovinia deputy culture minister.

"This is an opportunity for originality and the quality of the local creative products to be even more recognised in the EU," Sarajlic-Maglic told SETimes.

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Sarajlic-Maglic said the greatest value of BiH joining the Creative Europe project is that the country -- and the region -- has become a formal part of the wider creative space of the EU.

Creative Europe is also an opportunity for Serbia to promote the values of tolerance and co-operation, Ivan Tasovac, Serbia culture minister, said.

"In the coming period, priorities of regional co-operation will focus on managing cultural heritage, preventing the illegal trade of cultural goods, and in support of the creativity and diversity of cultural expressions," Tasovac told SETimes.

Correspondents Erl Murati in Tirana, Bojana Milovanovic in Belgrade and Bedrana Kaletovic in Sarajevo contributed to this report.

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