New Generation Lithuania plan intends to allocate 65 million euros to culture

Date

2021 05 14

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The integrated New Generation Lithuania plan will be presented to the European Commission (EC) today. The plan foresees two financial instruments intended directly for the field of culture: in total, about EUR 65 million.

The New Generation Lithuania plan, which was prepared by the government, foresees investments in the culture sector in its section ‘Digital Transformation’. EUR 30 million are planned to be allocated to the culture sector in accordance with the instrument “Investments in Digitization and Accessibility of Cultural Resources”, while almost EUR 35 million are intended to be allocated in accordance with the instrument “Investments in Development of Technological Resources of Lithuanian Language”.

In the field of digitization of culture, funding is planned for technological and program solutions dedicated to the opening up of culture and cultural heritage; cultural and information resources are planned to be adapted for people with disabilities. These investments will make it possible to implement projects of digitization of cinema, libraries, archives, museums, radio and television.

A study conducted in 2020 revealed that only about 16 percent of Lithuania’s residents participated in virtual cultural activities or used public digital cultural services during the lockdown. For this reason, according to the Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys, investments in e-culture will make it possible to increase the diversity of cultural services as well as their accessibility to all residents of the country.

“There are especially many untapped digitization opportunities in the field of heritage: just one tenth of cultural heritage objects have been digitized in Lithuania. All this shows that there is still a great shortage of both variety and accessibility of digital content. Modern instruments make it possible to greatly expand the accessibility of cultural services, regardless of where the person lives and what limitations he experiences due to health or age. Using the planned investments, we have to finally achieve a breakthrough in this field”, Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys said.

The funds of the second instrument will be allocated to the technological resources of Lithuanian language. For instance, Lithuanian-language services will be created which will operate on the basis of publicly available artificial intelligence technologies, such as virtual assistants, speech robots, or smart home systems. This will accelerate the digital transformation of society: usage of these services will become more attractive and help one acquire better digital skills in everyday life.

In late April, the EC approved another investment instrument for Lithuania: the REACT-EU initiative, according to which there are plans to allocate EUR 15.5 million to the cultural and creative industries (CCI). In 2021–2023, the funds will be allocated for the incentives to the Lithuanian design industry as well as the funding of necessary CCI infrastructure projects and service development.

“In total, during the post-pandemic period, Lithuania’s culture sector will receive EUR 80 million in EU funding. This is a truly substantial financial injection which will allow this sector to not only find its feet but also implement ambitious plans in strengthening a creative, bold society which meets the modern criteria of information literacy”, the Deputy Minister of Culture Vygintas Gasparavičius said.