The Ministry of Culture was notified of the precautionary measure filed at the Administrative Court of Lisbon by entities from the Group of Structures Damaged by the Ministry and “will respond within the legally established period”, confirmed today to Lusa a source from the Ministry.
“We confirm that the Ministry of Culture has already been notified and that it will respond within the legally established period”, reads a note sent to Lusa.
At issue is a precautionary measure presented by 13 of the 18 structures that make up the Group of Injured Structures by the Ministry of Culture and which aims at the partial suspension of the results of the 2023/2026 Sustained Support Program of the Directorate-General for Arts (DGARtes) .
The same official source from the Ministry of Culture noted that at the moment it could not “specify deadlines, because the process is still being analyzed”, but underlined: “What we can say is that we will respond within the legal deadline”.
Contacted by Lusa, a source from the administrative courts explained that, after being notified, the Ministry of Culture has “ten consecutive days, counting from the date on which it signed the acknowledgment of receipt” of the notification of the precautionary measure to respond, a period to which three additional days upon payment of a fine.
In a statement released on the 08th, the 13 structures of the Group of Structures Injured by the Ministry of Culture stated that they were “forced to put the State in court”, after having applied for tenders in the biennial modality, without obtaining support, despite have been considered eligible.
The delivery of the precautionary measure presupposes its evaluation by a judge for its acceptance and for it to have immediate effect or not, taking place in parallel with the legal action aimed at contesting the tenders, promoted by the 18 structures of the group.
The 13 structures that filed the injunction are Teatro Meia Volta and Afterwards à Esquerda Quero Eu Disser, Campos Costa architects – Radio gallery antechamber, Minutos Redondos and Teatro do Silêncio, all from Lisbon; Associação Cultbéria, from Serpa, Associação Divino Sospiro, from Alcochete, Astro Fingido from Porto, CARB – Cooperativa Artística da Raia Beirã, from Figueira de Castelo de Rodrigo, Cegada Grupo de Teatro, from Vila Franca de Xira, Pausa Possível, from Viseu, Pirilampo Artes, from Lousada, Ritornello, from Coimbra, and Space Ensemble, from Paredes de Coura.
The Group of Structures Damaged by the Ministry of Culture also includes Arena Ensemble and Associação Intervalo do Tempo, from Lisbon, Cortéxcult, from Arraiolos, Imaginar do Gigante, from Ovar, and Pé de Pano, from Castelo de Vide.
The day after the presentation of the judicial challenge, the Group of Structures Damaged by the Ministry of Culture requested urgent meetings with the President of the Republic, Prime Minister and Minister of Culture.
The “urgent” meetings were requested to “expose the fragility” in which these structures find themselves, “the unemployment that devoted this illicit measure and also the serious situation that is happening in the competition for project support”, explained Sandra Oliveira , from the Group of Structures Damaged by the Ministry of Culture, in a press conference held 'online', on the 09th.
The 2023/2026 Sustained Support Program tenders have been contested by various associations representing the Culture sector, giving rise to several appeals to the Minister of Culture, to petitions and to a “Protest for the Arts”, which joined in January a few hundred professionals in front of parliament, during a hearing by the Minister of Culture, Pedro Adão e Silva.
When applications opened in May last year, the six tenders had allocated a global amount of 81,3 million euros.
In September, the Minister of Culture announced that this amount would increase to 148 million euros. However, the reinforcement covered only the four-year competition modality. At the time, the minister mentioned that there had been a large transfer of candidacies from the four-year to the biennial modality.
In November, however, when DGArtes began to publish the provisional results of the six competitions, these immediately began to be contested, namely because there was no migration of applications from one modality to the other and there was a great asymmetry of results between the two. modalities.
Once the numbers were known, it became clear that around half of the structures eligible for support, in the biennial modality, were left out due to lack of financial resources, and that almost all eligible candidacies, in the four-year modality, obtained support.
At the press conference on the 09th, the group reinforced its defense, expressed in a statement the day before, that there was a “clear violation of the law”.
Sandra Oliveira underlined that the 18 structures that appealed to justice are not “against any structure, any artist”. “We are in favor of legality and the restoration of this legality”, he said, recalling that “the first request that is in the precautionary measure is for the Minister of Culture to proportionally reinforce” the appropriation in the biennial modality, “thus restoring the legality of the contest”.
According to Sandra Oliveira, “the structures that are being damaged by the Ministry of Culture are much more than the 18 that brought the action to court”.
"There are structures that couldn't even pay the down payment of a lawsuit, because they were in a complicated situation", he said.
The group of injured entities wants “repair of the principles of tender stability, proportionality and impartiality by reinforcing support for the biennial line, in the amount of 2,4 million euros per year, during the 2023/2024 biennium, to guarantee the viability of the work on the structures”.
During the press conference, Sandra Oliveira also warned of “the serious situation” in DGArtes Project Support tenders.
The creator of the Jardins Efémeros festival added: “the fact that [the Minister of Culture] unlawfully damaged the biennial structures, which were under the right of proportionality, meant that, by indication even from him – public, that we should compete for the punctual -, we are running making a chaotic flood, very high number of candidacies”.