Culture Ministry Cuts Funding for Cultural Programmes in Rijeka

Total Croatia News

Oliver Frljić, the director of the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka, is leaving his post.

Oliver Frljić will leave the position of the director of the Croatian National Theatre (HNK) in Rijeka in July and will become a member of the project team for the European Capital of Culture, in was announced yesterday by the Theatre. Frljić will reportedly continue to cooperate closely with the HNK in implementation of the project. Although the reasons for Frljić’s departure have not been announced, there are rumours that the pressures and threats against him have became too strong and that he has therefore decided to resign. The decision was certainly also influenced by a drastic reduction in budgetary funding for the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka, reports Jutarnji List on April 29, 2016.

Not long after Rijeka was declared European Capital of Culture 2020, Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegović promised to fully support the project by declaring it a strategic project for the Ministry and the state. However, the Ministry recently decreased funds for the Theatre by 450,000 kuna compared to 2015. Therefore, the HNK in Rijeka will this year receive only 1.2 million kuna. According to documents provided by the Culture Ministry, the HNK in Rijeka is the only of Croatian National Theatres whose budget funds have been drastically cut. For example, the HNK in Osijek, whose director Božidar Schneider publicly praised Hasanbegović, will receive 2 million kuna, or 500,000 kuna more than last year, while HNK Split will receive 1.5 million kuna.

The funds were also cut for the Rijeka Summer Nights Festival, organized by the Croatian National Theatre. This year, the Festival will receive only 50,000 kuna, while last year it received 80,000 kuna. By comparison, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival will receive 4 million kuna, and the Split Summer Festival 1.8 million kuna. Also, funds have been cut for Edit, a publishing house from Rijeka which publishes La Voce del Popolo newspaper, the only Croatian daily in Italian language which has been continually published for more than 70 years. They received from the Culture Ministry one million kuna, a half of last year’s funds, but it has already been announced that next year they will get nothing.

In Rijeka, this cuts in budget funds have been understood as a direct attack on the city culture. Rijeka Mayor Vojko Obersnel has sent two letters to Minister Hasanbegović in which he demanded an explanation for these decisions, and the City Council at its yesterday’s meeting decided to demand from the Ministry to find the funds needed to co-finance the publishing house of the Italian national minority.


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