The small cultural industries that have seen a lifesaver in the components developed by the Ministry of Culture in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR), are now concerned about what could be a splinter stuck in the float: the bureaucratic incapacity of the INAEM to manage them quickly and the difficulty of the Ministry to extend the deadlines.
A tide of temporary contracts with the INAEM ‘floods’ the door of the Ministry of Culture
Valeria Cosi, president of the State Federation of Dance Companies and Companies (Feced), warns that there is “a delay” that she understands is generated “because of the lack of INAEM personnel” as they have been informed by the ministry ” for a long time”. These European funds are intended for the modernization of the structures of theater and dance companies.
This Friday, the Minister of Culture, Miquel Iceta, has stated that, in response to requests from the sector, his department is “studying” the possibility of making the deadlines for granting aid more flexible, which are aimed at modernizing work structures , generate employment and develop activities that go beyond the scenic fact, such as the implementation of technological tools or communication on-line.
The minister’s words reinforce the message that has been verbally sent to Cosi in ministerial meetings, that they would try to move the deadlines but that it would not be easy.
Massive return of grants
On June 8, Feced had a meeting with the new director of INAEM, Joan Francesc Marco, and with the deputy general director of Music and Dance, Antonio Garde. In it, the Institute reported that they had evaluated the possibility of extending the deadlines, even if it was “very difficult.” “We told them that it was very serious and that what was going to happen was a massive drop in projects, to which they said yes, that they assume that this is what was going to happen,” explains Valeria Cosi.
La Feced represents 346 companies and companies from the world of dance. In total, there are around 500 in Spain. Of these, according to the information gathered by the Federation, around 70% have applied for aid from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.
Since the INAEM manages slowly, the other factor is the deadlines. The aid is used to finance projects —up to 80% of their cost— launched between April 20, 2021 and September 30, 2022. June 28 is the deadline for the resolution, after the corresponding corrections, and everything indicates that the INAEM will not be able to respond to all the requests before Tuesday.
By September 30, companies must have invoices issued and start making payments to have them complete before October 30. The problem is that the companies have not undertaken these structural investments in the last year because they do not have the money to make them, so they are waiting to secure the aid first, and then carry it out. “Dance companies do not have liquidity available to advance the investment,” says Cosi. Due to their characteristics of discontinuity, instability and low income, it is not easy for them to obtain bank credit lines with which to advance payments pending aid, as explained by the Federation.
“It is necessary to reinforce the INAEM of personnel now because this is directly affecting the sector and losing even 20% of the 18 million euros that we have available for aid seems very serious to us,” says Valeria Cosi.
The performing arts and music have obtained a reserve of 17,930,000 euros from the European Next Generation EU funds to create digital content, technologically modernize companies, professionalize, achieve gender equality, internationalize and “contribute to the image of Spain as a cultural power through applications linked to the Internet and new technologies”, as the description of the call says.
Regarding the management problems of the INAEM, the Minister of Culture has clarified that the same staff that attends to the ordinary calls for aid is also in charge of doing the same with the distribution of European funds, which entails these difficulties when it comes to to distribute the grants.
“We are working on it, but I want to remember that in 2016 the Public Job Offers were stopped. We have resumed them from 2020 and that will allow vacancies due to retirement and new positions to be filled, but the process is not immediate. It is a somewhat long period and we have had to face a pandemic and an ordinary and specific management of funds with this volume of personnel”, said the minister.
The difficult management of public stages
Last March, Amaya de Miguel resigned as director of INAEM, as she explained, to turn her career around in the private sector, for which she assumed the direction of the Montemadrid Foundation, replacing José Guirao. In an interview with elDiario.es, De Miguel admitted, shortly after her appointment that “INAEM was created to be an agile instrument for creation and over the years it has become the elephant.” “It is such a complex administrative system that we have that it is practically a titanic effort to raise a curtain, or for a private company to premiere a show that we have wanted to help financially. The system has become so complicated that it makes it almost immobile,” she added.
The resignation of Amaya de Miguel coincided with the mobilizations within the performing arts sector, related precisely to the public job offer and the delays in paying bills, as Carolina Africa explained to this newspaper after her work for the Center National drama.
It has not been the only dropout at the Performing Arts Institute during Iceta’s term. His deputy director, Fernando Cerón, also did so in January, signing a harsh letter expressing his frustration. “My only interest has always been the defense of our sector and unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that in the current circumstances I cannot meet this objective and my work has gradually become a pure bureaucratic management of totally insufficient resources. “, wrote.