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Open Letter ARGE

In early March, the ARGE penned an open letter addressed to the Austrian government, demanding that political leaders fulfill the promises made in their government programme regarding cultural diversity for the legislative period 2020-2024.

  • Unesco ARGE | Copyright: © Unesco

    Unesco ARGE © Unesco

The letter emphasises the government’s pledge to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which mandates safeguarding the diversity of cultural expressions, which is independent of market logic and securing the rights of artists and cultural workers.

The Civil Society Expert Group on Cultural Diversity, with the Austrian UNESCO Commission, presented concrete recommendations in their 2023 final statement on how Austria can meet its obligations to protect and promote cultural diversity. While some recommendations have been implemented, others have not.

The government's promises include improving visa issuance for family visits, scientific exchanges, research purposes, and cultural projects, in line with Article 16 of the UNESCO Convention to reduce global inequalities. The statement proposes specific measures such as introducing a joined residence permit for artists and facilitating the entry, stay, and employment conditions of artists and cultural workers from third countries within the EU framework.

Lastly, the government promised to ensure the funding of the Artist Social Security Fund and to evaluate and develop its funding criteria and eligibility. The statement calls for increasing the annual maximum grant amount from the fund and expanding eligibility, stating that the current definition of art used by the government is too rigid.

The Civil Society Expert Group on Cultural Diversity urges the government to quickly focus on these issues and work with civil society experts to implement concrete actions before the end of the legislative period.

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