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Thursday, December 9, 2021

L. Mendoni: "Five museums in the country will gain administrative and financial independence"

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Answer of the Minister of Culture and Sports to a topical question in Parliament for the conversion of museums into N.P.D.D.

 

The Minister of Culture and Sports, Mrs. Lina Mendoni, answering today a topical question of the MP of MERA 25, Mr. Kleonas Grigoriadis, about the conversion of museums into N.P.D.D, said the following:

 

"Thank you, Mr. Grigoriadis, for the question. You know very well that the vast majority of public museums in Greece are archaeological. And as you said, today they are part of the hard core of the State, as they are Public Services, which belong to the administrative hierarchy of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The only exception is the Acropolis Museum, which was founded from the beginning as a legal entity under public law and today has all this activity to display.

It is clear that those Museums that operate as Special Regional Services of the Ministry of Culture do not have administrative autonomy and can not draw an independent strategy depending on their physiognomy and collections. Why; Because they belong to the administrative hierarchy of the General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage.

Given that museums are organizations, all museums, which are put at the service of society and operate with the main purpose of its development, it is obvious that their proper functioning and effective administrative and financial management are inextricably linked to the legal framework that governs them and allows or limits their development potential.

Our museums have enormous potential for development, but they need a coordinated effort of structural change so that they can function not under the suffocating administrative and economic framework of the hard state core to which they now belong. This view is supported by a majority of experts at the international level and has already been adopted in the largest museums abroad, where the institutional disengagement of museums from the tight embrace of the state, in order to better and more efficiently manage them, has been set for years. implemented. 

In addition, the intention to change the legislative framework of the museums was not only not announced suddenly, but was from the beginning a strategic goal of the Ministry of Culture, which I set in my speech in Parliament in the program statements of the Government. Moreover, the pandemic and the festivities can not be an occasion to stop the work of any Government.

In addition, with the completion of the draft law, it is obvious that there will be the necessary consultation with both stakeholders and society before the introduction of the draft law in the competent Parliamentary Committee. It will be preceded by the public consultation provided for by the legislative procedure. Rest assured that all comments and remarks from employees and trade unions and social workers will be taken seriously at all stages of the legislative process, until the bill is passed.

In this context, the conversion of five museums of the country and, in particular, the National Archaeological Museum, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, the Byzantine and Christian Museum and the Museum of Byzantine Culture aims to acquire administrative and, largely, economic autonomy and therefore greater flexibility. Aim of the conversion of the above museums into N.P.D.D. is to improve their efficiency, through the utilization of business administration and management methods, communication and marketing. We are not afraid of words, we can place them in the right context, by adopting new strategies regarding the search for resources and the easier adaptation to the new museum functions and services required by the modern visitor.

To allay your concerns about the functioning of museums as government bodies, I inform you that the new NPDD museums will be governed by a board of directors. The President and the Vice-President of which will be elected by a five-member Committee for the Selection of Public Executives, the members of which will be appointed, together with their deputies, by a decision of the President of the Supreme Personnel Selection Council (ASEP), in accordance with the provisions of article 20 of law 4735/2020. In addition, the organization and operation of each Museum will be determined by a special, for each museum, Presidential Decree, which will be issued following a proposal by the Minister of Culture and Sports.

The provision of the public character of the museums and the maintenance of the employment relationship of all the employees is ensured by their conversion into N.P.D.D, while at the same time it is ensured that the new bodies will be governed by the provisions of the public accounting and the legislation on recruitment staff in public sector bodies. Therefore, no change occurs in the employment relationship of the already serving employees whose organic position will remain in the Ministry. The employees who are going to be hired in the future, will obviously be hired according to the legal procedures provided for all the N.P.D.D. "

 

Deuterology

"Honorable Members, precisely because Museums are all that you have said, they are a place of research, a place of education and training, in both senses, that is exactly why we have to accept that things are evolving and situations are evolving. I will not comment specifically on the letter from the colleagues of the German Museum, because it is a very long discussion and one can trace the how and the why. So let's leave that out of our discussion. If you want, we'll discuss it ad hoc another time.

I do not know if all that you said, the evils that will happen, apply to the Acropolis Museum. The Acropolis Museum did not appear suddenly. There was the old museum before the new one was founded, which was part of the Archaeological Service and specifically of the Ephorate of Antiquities of the Acropolis at that time.

Today the Acropolis Museum, under its administrative form, of the N.P.D.D. based on international statistics is one of the five best museums in the world. This is not accidental. And of course, the employees of the Museum, whether they are archaeologists or engineers, conservators, all the staff is nothing different and of course not inferior to the staff of the archeological service for the very simple reason that most come from the archaeological service. Simply, the legal form of the Acropolis Museum - what we want to do in all five major museums in the country - allows it to develop different administrative and financial processes, different extroversion processes, precisely because it does not suffocate under the very tight embrace of the state core. It does not mean that the N.P.D.D do not belong to the public, it does not mean that their executives are inferior and I consider that it is an insult, if you will, to the members of the Board of the specific museum. I do not understand, do not do their job well? Do you use them as an example to avoid? I do not understand. We have a reality.

The discussion on the conversion of museums into N.P.D.D. in Greece dates back to the 90s. There was no example at that time. Today, however, we have an example and this is the Acropolis Museum. I do not want to say that everything there is perfect. In any case, the international statistics, the international reviews show that it responds perfectly to the demands of the modern public, which is why it has very high scores in all international statistics and also fully meets its research and educational role.

It does not mean that the National Archaeological Museum or the Byzantine Museum because it will become N.P.D.D. will lose its educational, social and research role. You just give him more opportunity to develop all these initiatives that he has to develop, for the good of society as a whole. Also, I do not consider that an employee, an archaeologist, an engineer who may not belong to the archeological service but will find an alpha employment relationship or will be a member of the Board of one of the five Museums is necessarily inferior to its executives Archaeological Service, which we obviously honor. 

Conditions are different from the German occupation you mentioned, and from the 50s and 60s and even from the 2000s. We have to adapt. Why; To meet the role that museums have to play for society as a whole. Thank you".

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