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Various: Italian government wields funding axe

Published: Jun 10, 2010 - 06:52 AM   In the continuing saga of culture funding in Italy, president Silvio Berlusconi has called for funding cuts of 50 per cent to 232 of the country’s cultural institutions. While drastic, the cuts are being seen as a kind of reprieve, given that the government’s original proposal was to cut those institutions funding by 100 per cent.

As well as prominent outfits such as the Arena di Verona and the Spoleto Festival, the list includes the Milan Triennale, the Rossini Foundation in Pesaro, and the Italian Foundation for Early Music.

The list was announced on 31 May by economy minister Giulio Tremonti. It received an uncharacteristic note of dissent from culture minister Sandro Bondi, who said in an open letter to Il Giornale newspaper, ‘The ministry has been overlooked. I wanted the decisions to be made together.’ While he quickly clarified that ‘I am I total agreement with Tremonti’, Bondi also asserted that certain institutions on the list, such as ‘the Experimental Cinema Centre, the Milan Triennale and the Vittoriale can in no way be considered luxuries’.

‘I will work with my colleagues to try to understand the institutions of excellence and which are luxuries,’ he continued. ‘I believe that this choice must be made together with the Ministry of Culture, which knows better than anyone else which are relevant and which are unnecessary.’

The list was revealed as part of an amendment to the bill on ‘urgent measures concerning financial stabilisation and economic competitiveness’. Tremonti also revealed that a new fund would be created for the granting of subsidies to institutions that make ‘a documented and reasoned request’ to the ministry.







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