The 7th meeting of Ministers of Culture of the Visegrad Group countries was held in Wrocław on 22-23 June 2001.
Participating in the meeting were:
Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic - Pavel Dostál Minister of Culture of the Slovak Republic - Milan Kňažko
Minister of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Hungary - Zoltán Rockenbauer
Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski
Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania - Gintautas Kévišas participated in the meeting as an observer.
The meeting of the ministers was preceded by deliberations of experts discussing the role of culture in the foreign promotion of the Visegrad Group countries and prospects of joint promotion of culture of the countries and nations in the region. As a result of the discussion, the following conclusions were agreed upon and submitted to the Ministers of Culture of the Visegrad Group countries:
- In the contemporary world culture is one of the most important areas of international co-operation. It has a special significance for the collaboration of countries and nations, which are particularly close to one another through tradition and history. Presentation of an image of the Group member-states in other countries with simultaneous promotion of the whole region in jointly realised projects mean a new challenge to be met by the cultural diplomacy of our countries.
- It is indispensable to facilitate mutual information sharing on promotional activities which are carried out among particular Visegrad Group countries to enhance their participation in the events organised by the partners.
- The experts agreed that cultural presentations of our countries have a special significance in the process of integration with the European Union. They emphasised that seeking projects based on co-operation of the Visegrad Group countries in this respect and their realisation in the EU countries may constitute particularly precious "added value" for promotional activities of individual countries. Therefore, the experts recommend including the issue of cultural diplomacy into the permanent agenda of the meetings of Ministers of Culture representing the Visegrad Group countries. They also recommend inclusion of representatives of creative milieus and non-governmental organisations to a greater extent as they possess considerable experience in promotional activities.
- Recommendation to Ministers of Culture of the Visegrad Group proposals of joint promotional projects which should be regarded as priorities in 2002-2003:
- To evaluate the state of progress in various projects supported at former meetings of Ministers of Cultures of the Visegrad Group to use this evaluation report as a basis for further proposals on priorities and projects
- To continue projects suggested in the course of the previous meetings of Ministers of Culture of the Visegrad Group countries
- To set up annual folk festivals in rotation in the four Visegrad Group countries, the first one to be held in Budapest in March 2002
- To set up sections of experts which will deal with the development and realisation of particular projects
- To develop a graphical presentation symbolising the cultural co-operation of the Visegrad Group
The plenary session of the delegations led by the Ministers of Culture was held on 23 June 2001 and the participants have agreed on the following:
- To establish a working team which is supposed to work out the concept of financing and organising joint promotional events before the next meeting of the Ministers of Culture of the Visegrad Group. The meeting of the team will be held in September in Warsaw following the invitation by Adam Mickiewicz Institute. In its proposals the team should consider recommendations for realisation of the projects within the International Visegrad Fund.
- The participants welcomed the fact that the means of the International Visegrad Fund were doubled. At the same time the Ministers expressed their wish that at least one third of the budget in the International Visegrad Fund be devoted for cultural projects.
- The Ministers agreed to allocate at least fifty thousand USD in annual budgets of the ministries of culture for financing the joint cultural projects of the Visegrad Group, as proposed by the experts appointed and approved by the Ministers of culture. The participants also agreed to include the information on financing projects of that kind by individual ministries in the permanent agenda of the meetings of Ministers of Culture of the Visegrad Group.
- The participants welcomed initiatives aimed at cultural co-operation on a broader forum in Central and Eastern Europe with more intensive participation of the Visegrad Group countries and stress the necessity of co-ordination of particular initiatives.
- It was established that from 2002 on the meetings of the Ministers of Culture of the Visegrad Group countries will be held twice a year. The experts will meet four times a year. The subjects of these sessions will be determined on the basis of current needs in the course of the preceding ministerial meetings.
- It was established that the next meeting of the Ministers of Culture of the Visegrad Group countries will be held in Sopron in the first quarter of 2002. Its main topic will be proposed by the group of experts.
Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic
Minister of Culture of the Slovak Republic
Minister of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Hungary
Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski
Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
Wrocław, 23 June 2001