Executive summary
The ratification of the Convention 2005 (“Official Gazette of RS”, no. 42/09 – International Agreements) and its implementation contributed to further development and reform of the cultural system in the Republic of Serbia. In the observed period (2014-2017), the Republic of Serbia adopted several new regulations and laws aimed at promoting the diversity of cultural expressions. The ratification of the Convention in Serbian Parliament provided the conditions for the application of the first international instrument that regulates the protection and promotion of cultural diversity, significantly affecting the exercise of fundamental freedoms and rights of the citizens. The adoption of a new legislative framework that introduced provisions relating to cultural diversity, financial support for the promotion of cultural diversity, and defined cooperation with the civil sector are considered to be the main achievements in its implementation. In 2013, Serbia submitted the First Quadrennial Periodic Report to UNESCO. In February 2017, as part of the EU negotiating process of the Republic of Serbia, Chapter 26 (Education and Culture) was opened and temporarily closed in Brussels, with the 2005 Convention being the only acquis communautaire. The CCI sector in Serbia is developing faster than any other branch of the economy; employment in that sector is on the rise and its GDP increased by 16.4% between 2014 and 2016, exceeding other sectors of the Serbian economy during this period (Creative Industries Policy Note, Republic of Serbia (2017), prepared by the World Bank under the Results Based Management Reimbursable Advisory Services Agreement (P163203)). In her 2017 address, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of the CCI as the driver of economic and social development of Serbia, recognizing its developmental potential, as well as its potential to boost local economy and employment, and connect Serbia with the world through an exchange of creative products through traditional and digital platforms. The Government of Serbia also recognizes the importance of the 4th digital revolution, which brings innovation, competitiveness and growth, and emphasizes the importance of digitization in all segments of society. The Government of the Republic of Serbia, appointed in 2017, recognized creative industries as the vector of development of all society. The Prime Minister’s Office has demonstrated its commitment to improving the position of the CCI by appointing an advisor to the Prime Minister on Creative Industries, Film and Tourism at the beginning of its mandate. In addition, the establishment of the Council for Creative Industries is planned for 2018. A new Department for the Development of Digital Research Infrastructure, created within the Ministry of Culture and Media, among other activities grants financial support to institutions for digitization process in culture. The Serbian Chamber of Commerce has had an Association for Creative Industries since 2010. The Government of Serbia and the Ministry of Economy have recognized the development of entrepreneurship as one of the priorities of Serbian economic policy and the year 2016 was declared Year of Entrepreneurship. In 2016, the Law on Culture was amended to encompass creative industries and digitization as part of its general interest in culture. Since 2017, cultural policies have been focused on creating measures as well as offering support for building infrastructures and environment for the CCI. The best examples of this are tax incentives for the audiovisual industry and the growth of the creative industry in general in Serbia; development of new CCI local strategies; new creative hubs and clusters; support for projects aimed at developing new media (virtual reality, visual effects, and gaming). As for the media, in 2014, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted a set of media laws, which were harmonized with the EU legal framework (the Law on Public Information and Media; the Law on Electronic Media; the Law on Public Service Broadcasters), while the new media strategy (a follow-up to the previous strategy, which expired in 2016) is being drafted. The principal challenges for the Ministry of Culture and Media in the continued implementation of the goals of the 2005 Convention are: digitization processes as support to the universal approach to culture in a digital environment, the development of an online market in the culture sphere, and the application of principles of the Convention at the local level. As for specific activities, financial incentives were introduced for the production of foreign films and TV programs on sites across Serbia, and support was increased for national production and co-production capacities through international agreements. Furthermore, initiatives for the development of new media were encouraged, such as virtual reality, visual effects and gaming. The Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Serbia and the Serbian Developmental Agency have supported further clustering in the area of creative industries and the economy, while the clusters themselves have established cluster associations and networks. Finally, there is a growing trend of creative hubs emerging across the country. In 2016 the city of Novi Sad was declared the European Capital of Culture for 2021, according to the decision issued by a panel of independent experts of the European Commission, during a session in Brussels. The project acknowledges the role of culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development, with Novi Sad recognized as Serbia’s “creative city”, where creative industries are developed in the local community. The musical festival “EXIT” plays a major role in the growth of these industries, and it was declared the Best European Festival in 2017 (by the European Festival Award), while the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recognized it as a socially responsible campaign.