STRATEGIJA2.6 6/18/03 5:12 PM Page 159
professional and public decision making. The general discussion on cultural develop
ment, held in Trako Ean with the participation of some hundred cultural professionals,
resulted first in the book Croatia in the 21st Century: Strategy of Cultural Development;
Draft (Zagreb, 2001) and in two other books and a Notebook. These publications and the
ensuing controversy led to the formulation of a broad framework for meeting the
requirement of a democratic and professional public discussion on culture.
Needless to say, political changes require political explanations. If the image of Croatia s
culture was assessed as conservative, nationally contained, it had to be changed after a
modern, European model; if alternative culture and the culture of the young were ne
glected, they needed to be recognized and encouraged; if decision making in culture was
considered non public and non transparent, it had to be made public and transparent; if
culture did not have sufficient funds for program activities, protection of cultural her
itage, renewal of cultural infrastructure, etc., additional funds needed to be raised.
Much can in fact be achieved through political will itself, and much was actually done
in the first few months of work of the new Ministry of Culture. For the first time new
cultural activities, groups, individuals, festivals with a new type of cultural sensibility
appeared; new departments for cultural development and youth culture were established;
for the first time all decisions were made public on the Ministry s, likewise newly creat
ed, Web site, or in the periodic gazette Kulturni razvitak (Cultural Development) also
published for the first time; in addition, financial resources earmarked for culture
reached, also for the first time, over 1% of the state budget, while those intended for pro
gram activities, which account for nearly 2/3 of the Ministry s budget, rose by 48%.
Finally, at a time when budgetary restrictions were in place for the administration and
public services, the fact that culture was not included in the cuts and that, contrary to tra
ditional employment trends in such circumstances, not a single work place was lost in
culture, all speak not only of positive intentions but also of overcoming the previous con
ception of culture as mere consumption, whereby restrictions in consumption affected
It was possible to ensure all such and similar advances through a new political will.
However, all, or at least the most important, structural advances in the new cultural pol
icy had to be protected from political will when it produced arbitrariness, incompetence,
preferential, or downgrading treatment. If evaluation in culture was considered partisan,