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Where Are the Impressive Results of the Non-governmental Organisations from Metelkova, Due to Which Tens of Millions of Euros Were Taken From the Taxpayers?

For a long time now, the SD party has been organising some kind of online roundtables, where various problems are usually discussed by members of the said party, stuck in a certain segment that depends on the state funding. This time was no different. Three non-governmental organisation employees and one trade unionist spoke about how the “Development of non-governmental organisations and the self-employed in culture raises the quality of life of us all.”

On the 22nd of November 2021, the Social Democrats party (SD) published a recording of the SD Experts Conference, entitled “Development of non-governmental organisations and the self-employed in culture raises the quality of life of us all.” The online conference was attended by the office head of the organisation Asociacija (Association) Tadej Meserko, member of the Trade Union of “Culture and Nature” of Slovenia Glosa Denis Miklavčič, artistic director of the Kersnikova Institute and curator in the Kapelica Gallery Jurij Krpan, and the director of the Peace Institute Dr Iztok Šori. The conversation was moderated by the former Minister of Culture, Dejan Prešiček.

“We have been drawing attention to the plight of the self-employed in culture and non-governmental organisations for a long time now,” the president of the SD party Tanja Fajon tweeted after the roundtable. “Their situation further worsened during the epidemic. This is an acute problem. Long procedures, delays, and more. Meanwhile, Minister of Culture Simoniti is arbitrarily dealing with and reducing the number of self-employed and non-governmental organisations.”

If Minister Vasko Simoniti somehow succeeded in “reducing the number of self-employed and non-governmental organisations” by increasing funding for non-governmental organisations, as Fajon suggested in her tweet, then the current Minister of Culture must be a miracle worker. Let us remind you of the fact that the budget of the Ministry of Culture increased by 46 million euros for the year 2021 under Minister Simoniti’s leadership. This is a record high in the history of independent Slovenia. During Prešiček’s term at the ministry, the budget for culture amounted to 162 million euros. During Zoran Poznič’s term – who is also a member of the SD party – the budget for culture amounted to 172.8 million euros. During Simoniti’s term, however, the budget for culture reached a record high of 237.9 million euros.

Despite the opposition’s claims, the ministry believes that a bigger budget will also “provide an additional boost for creativity and the start for more than a decade of neglected investments in culture.” The Ministry of Culture employees remains optimistic.

What did the non-governmental organisations at Metelkova Street 6 even do for the people?
Prime Minister Janez Janša responded to Fajon’s claims, by writing: “Let’s list ten important results of the work of non-governmental organisations from Metelkova 6, the paramilitary of the SD party, that actually helped the people, and for which tens of millions of euros were stolen from workers, pensioners and entrepreneurs. Can you do that?” the Prime Minister wondered.

Metelkova Street 6 is the address where, according to current information, more than 20 non-governmental organisations have their premises. These are: the Centre for Slovenian Literature, the Association of Film Producers of Slovenia, the NSK  Information Centre, the Retro-Avant-Garde Association (Laibach), the Association for Contemporary Dance of Slovenia, En Knap Institute, Exodos Ljubljana, Forum Ljubljana, the Gallus J. Carniolus Institute, the Institute for Sustainable Development, Otok – the Institute for the Development of Film Culture Ljubljana, the Cinema Festival Otok, Maska Ljubljana, City of Women – Association for the Promotion of Women in Culture, the Peace Institute, Dance Theatre Ljubljana, the Legal-Information Centre for Non-Governmental Organisations – PIC, SCAA Ljubljana – the Centre for Contemporary Arts, SLOGA – Platform of Non-governmental Organisations, ŠKUC, Vertigo – the independent production company based in Ljubljana, Vitkar Institute, and the Association of Slovenian Institutions – Foundations.

The premises are owned by the Ministry of Culture, and many of the aforementioned organisations do not even pay rent for their use of the spaces. Moreover, the order to vacate the premises at Metelkova 6 for the purpose of renovation, which was issued during the SD party’s term at the ministry, was annulled.

Ivan Šokić

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