Subsidies for Mundial, Theatre Embassy and Music May Day to end

April 2010 -

As part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' new financing regulations for development collaboration, the subsidy requests from the alliance of Mundial Productions, Music May Day and Theatre Embassy have been rejected. A definitive decision regarding the allocation of subsidies will be taken by 1 November 2010. A total of 2.1 billion euros of the Development Collaboration's budget has been reserved for this. The organisations that have been rejected do not satisfy the so-called threshold criteria maintained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hivos is the only organisation active in culture and development whose request was not rejected.

In his reaction, Ruben Collin of Music May Day said that he is extremely surprised by the rejection. "Allegedly our statutory objectives do not stipulate clearly enough that our activities involve fighting poverty. We find that extremely surprising, since Koenders has very clearly stated that he backs culture; moreover, we were granted a subsidy in the past based on these same statutory objectives." The alliance assumes that strictly legal norms have been used. Jan Drissen of Mundial: "This decision has very likely been thoroughly studied by the legal department. I expect our chances in an objection procedure would be very slim."

Music May Day and Theatre Embassy may have to terminate their activities. Collin: "Without the MFS funds we simply cannot operate; however, we remain convinced of our good plans and we are considering other financing options." The rejection will result in a significant bloodletting for Mundial. Drissen: "This will cost us a third of our income. That will have consequences for our United Cultures for Development Network, in which we exchange a lot of expertise with partners from the South."

Paul van Paaschen of Hivos is not too surprised by the subsidy decisions. "Culture has never been a fundamental part of the Development Collaboration’s policy. The film funds had a separate arrangement, the Prince Claus Fund has other financing and an emergency arrangement was created for Mundial at that time. The requests from Theatre Embassy, Music May Day and Mundial were not too promising, in my view. Nonetheless, the rejection is regrettable, precisely because interest in culture as part of development collaboration is continually increasing within European Union countries."