Is there a way to preserve Lithuania’s historic opportunity in the times of economic crisis?

In view of the country’s increasingly burdensome economic situation and of the need for budgetary savings, PI Vilnius - European Capital of Culture 2009 suggests revising the 2009 budget of the national programme “Vilnius - European Capital of Culture 2009" approved by the Lithuanian government to save 8 million Lt. After the Council of PI Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009 approves the detailed plan of saving opportunities proposed by the management, the plan will be forwarded to incorporators of the institution, i.e. Lithuanian Ministry of Culture and Vilnius City Municipality. The final decision regarding the allocation of funds to the implementation of the programme in 2009 will be adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania at the time of approval of the national budget and by the Council of Vilnius City Municipality during adoption of the capital’s next year budget.

“Under the resolution of the Lithuanian government of 6 February 2008, plans were to allocate 67.37 million litas to the implementation, marketing and communication and administration of art, culture and public projects of the programme "Vilnius - European Capital of Culture 2009". We suggest reducing this amount by 12% to 59.3 million Lt to save 8 million Lt. This is our institution’s proposal whereas decisions are after the owners of financial resources for the programme "Vilnius - European Capital of Culture 2009", i.e. the Ministry of Culture and Vilnius City Municipality," said Elona Bajorinienė, Director of PI Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009. “The ‘trimming’ of the programme which I mentioned, although very painful, in the times of overall saving will nevertheless enable Lithuania to take the historic opportunity and present future European capital of culture Vilnius with honour in the year of the country’s name millennium," she added.

Based on the said governmental resolution, the 67.37 million Lt budget earmarked for the next year’s programme “Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009” is divided into three parts: 49.72 is planned for art, culture and public events and projects, 12.31 million for marketing and communication and 5.34 million for administrative costs. The plan of saving opportunities drafted by PI Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009 suggests reducing funding for all three areas by 12% to 43.8 million, 10.8 million and 4.7 million respectively.

“Although the whole 2009 programme of events was developed based on the funding levels foreseen by the Lithuanian government in February, under the current economic crisis it is absolutely necessary to take account of the state's real situation," Bajorinienė remarked.

In order to cut down on funding, suggestions are to cancel some of the projects planned in the 2009 programme of events. “First we propose to give up projects which are still subject to negotiation, whose implementers are still nuclear or whose implementation is no longer feasible owing to altered economic situation. Furthermore, some of the planned calls for proposals will be cancelled,” Bajorinienė explained.

To cut down on the funding of projects by 6 million Lt to 43.8 million, in 2009 in Vilnius the proposal is to cancel the world's largest 'travelling' festival of electronic music Creamfields, after consultations with implementers give up performance of Skryabin’s symphonic poem Prometheus in the open space (project “Vilnius – the Northern Beacon”), do without the temporary pavilion for exhibitions and other events next to the White Bridge and the multicultural project with Icelandic artists, reduce the number of discussions in the club “European Café” and implement only half of planned projects with other European capitals of culture. Plans are to give up projects intended for people communities such as the People Programme Foundation, contest “Mano kiemas - meno kiemas" and projects of the Theatre and Dance Foundation and the Film Foundation included into the programme “Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009".

“The proposed plan of saving opportunities could still preserve the key highlights of the intended culture programme. The decision on further cut-downs for the national programme "Vilnius - European Capital of Culture 2009", however, could be detrimental to the very idea of the programme. This might prevent achieving the program's cultural goals, which, in turn, may cause 2009 to become the year of events with all but local significance,” Bajorinienė said.

A 12% reduction is also proposed for the marketing and communication budget of the programme “Vilnius - European Capital of Culture 2009" through giving up the tourism marketing programme with planned allocation of 1.5 million Lt. In such a case Lithuania is offered to give up participation in eight international exhibitions abroad, production of publicity measures designed for the tourism sector and advertising in tourist guides.

“We also suggest cutting the administrative costs of the programme "Vilnius - European Capital of Culture 2009" by 12% respectively. It is natural that after cancelling part of the projects and activities, less resources will be required to administrate them,” Bajorinienė explained.

About the national programme “Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009”

The programme “Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009" approved by the Lithuanian Government includes:

  1. Culture, art and public events. 2009 programme features almost 900 events, about two thirds of which will be free of charge. These events are part of 120 projects including 90% of premieres in Lithuania and 80% implemented in co-operation with artists from 30 countries and international organisations. The allocation of 105.38 million Lt was earmarked for the implementation of these projects in 2008-2010 (67.37 million Lt for 2009). Co-ordination of these funds has been assigned to the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and Vilnius City Municipality.
  2. Development and reconstruction of culture, art and public infrastructure objects. The Government has earmarked 188.894 million Lt for these activities in 2008-2009. Plans are to use those funds for building the National Art Gallery, reconstructing the Art Printing House, the centre for design and innovation of Vilnius Academy of Arts Titanikas, the Contemporary Art Centre, the National Philharmonic Hall, and buildings and facilities of Vilnius largest theatres, improving parks and squares in the old town and adjusting different objects of culture for the handicapped.

For additional information please contact:

Albertas Barauskas
PI Vilnius – European Capital of Culture 2009
Press Officer
Tel. 8 5 211 2099; GSM 8 698 31341



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