Culture Ministry proposal for European Solidarity Centre rejected

On Saturday, the Council of the European Solidarity Centre in Gdańsk, northern Poland, rejected the proposal of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage regarding subsidies for the institution.

The ECS council recognised that the proposals of the Minister of Culture violate the principles underlying the founding agreement of 2007 and the applicable provisions and statute of the European Solidarity Centre. It was emphasized that the proposal to bind the amount of donations with the demand for constituting a special ECS department subject to the ministry would be equal to the government's interference in the internal matters of the institution, and may consequently lead to the break-up and destruction of the European Solidarity Centre.

In accordance with the currently binding agreement of November 8, 2007 and its annex of 2013, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage is obliged to subsidise the ECS at the level of PLN 4 mln (EUR 936,600). The Ministry was fulfilling its obligation, but in 2017 and 2018, it donated more than was agreed - over PLN 7 mln (EUR 1.6 mln) per year.

In October 2018, the Ministry decided to return to the basic amount of subsidy for the Centre, that is, PLN 4 mln. As was pointed out, this amount is included in the agreement with the ECS.

During negotiations, the ministry, represented by its deputy head Jarosław Sellin, offered the centre the “standard”, basic subsidy set out in an agreement. The increase of funds would be dependent on establishing another department within the ECS, subject to the Culture Minister.

Money collection for ECS

On Friday, the #wspieramECS (I support ECS) collection was started. So far, over PLN 3 mln (EUR 702.4) has been gathered on Facebook and the Centre’s account.

The initiator of the idea is Patrycja Krzymińska, who earlier organised a collection for Paweł Adamowicz, the Gdańsk mayor who was murdered on stage at a Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity event in front of hundreds of people on January 13. Ms Krzymińska stressed that the ECS money collection had nothing to do with politics.

“I am trying myself to avoid getting politically involved. If the Civic Platform [the largest opposition party] lowered funds for the ECS, I would do the same,” she stated.

The European Solidarity Centre was established in 2007. It aims to "popularise the legacy of the Solidarity trade union in Poland and other countries, as well as to actively participate in building a European identity."