Memo February 2004


A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of the Budapest Observatory (BO) in February 2004

Small BO staff has been buried with preparing the content sessions at the next IETM get-together in April.

Come to Budapest!
A few days remain till the registration deadline for the Informal European Theatre Meeting.

Dissecting Culture 2000
It has felt good to find several references to the BO analysis of Culture 2000 grants, including in the e-zine of C2000.

We are not alone in this zeal, others did the same. BO learned from the handy encatc @newsletter that the analysis about the forerunners of C2000 in 1996-1999 was disclosed. BO immediately made a combined mini-examination that covers eight years. (More follows.) We took 567 in four years before 2000 from the study by GMV conseil and the 631 cooperation projects since 2000 (note! this latter without translation projects), and checked them by leading organisation. Italy has not always been the busiest: in the previous four years they were second behind France. German organisations took the third place, both before and after 2000. Luxembourg led the smallest number of projects and Portugal was third from behind in both periods.

Concerning east-central Europe, the decline of Bulgaria is the most salient feature: who can explain?

  1996-1999 2000-2003
EU Member States 1. France, 2. Italy, 3. Germany  ...          13. Portugal, 14. Finland, 15. Luxembourg 1. Italy, 2. France, 3. Germany  ...          13. Portugal, 14. Luxembourg, 15. Ireland
East-central Europe 1. Poland, 2-3. Bulgaria, Hungary  ...       8-9. Latvia, Slovakia, 10. Lithuania
1. Poland, 2. Czech Republic, 3. Romania ...  8-9. Estonia, Slovakia, 10. Bulgaria


West chooses east
Coming back to the BO analysis (not yet completed) of 2000-2003, we found that western leaders chose eastern partners in every third  of the 565 projects led by an organisation in an EU member state. Since almost every such case involved collaborators from more than one candidate country, there were 318 bilateral links in 183 projects. See the most frequent couplings:

Partner In how many projects?
German Hungarian 13
Austrian Slovenian 12
German Polish


East chooses west
By definition, each of the 48 projects led by a candidate country included partners from the west, more than two per project, producing 116 bonds. German organisations were the most favoured, followed by French and Italian: the most active countries in applying for grants are also the most popular targets for collaboration.

See the three most frequent bonds. The strong German - Hungarian liaison seems to be one way only, BO found one single Hungarian - German link.

Leader Partner In how many projects?
Polish German 7
Czech German 5
Polish British

Lithuanians were the most eager to co-operate with western organisations, opening the widest span for search, reaching 10 member countries, more than anyone else from the region.

East chooses east
Our compasses are geared towards the west. Nearly half of the eastern-led projects had no collaborator from the region. Slovaks were the most loyal, their 2 projects involved 5 eastern partners.

Otherwise the sympathies were fairly even, five out of the ten candidate countries were selected 6 times each. However, only one pair produced a higher number of joint actions than two:

Leader Partner In how many projects?
Hungarian Romanian


Cents for translators
C2000 got dissected also as part of BO contribution to the survey of support for international exchange in the area of literature run by LAF / Mercator. Between 2000-2003, publishers from 22 countries received altogether 4,4 million euros for translation in the frames of Culture 2000. BO related the grants to population figures. The inhabitants of Iceland benefited by far the most: 97,5 cents in four years, followed by Norwegian per capita 16,4 cents - long winter nights, thirst for foreign literature. Among EU members, however, the leader is Greece with 6,2 cents. Austrians, Germans and the British collected around 0,1 cent each. BO feels inspired to find an illustrative benchmark from the agricultural subsidies.

East Europeans were allowed to compete from one or more years later. Lithuania took a headstart and won 5,1 cents per inhabitant, much higher than the EU average. Not one cent went to Polish publishers.

Happy millennary!
Lithuania will celebrate her 1000th anniversary by hosting a European Capital of Culture in 2009. Candidate countries broke through, see BO note .

Who reads us
Will Lithuanians learn about the flattering mentions in this memo? This year BO site has switched on a smarter visitor counter that spies on our readers - this is how we know that BO is neglected in Vilnius and Kaunas. Differently from Tallinn and Tartu: more hits come from Estonia than from Poland, Germany or Netherlands.

English is the set language of about 28% of our visitors, second 15% French is reassuring. 

Major study presented and discussed
The text of the major study on the recent ascent of foundations in the financing of European culture has been available for months. The official presentation of Cultural cooperation in Europe: what role for Foundations? took place in Genoa in February, in the the frames of a conference.

Percentage philantropy
Millions of citizens in east-central Europe are wondering these days, which non-profit organisation to subsidize with 1% of their income tax. This legal regime was initiated in the Hungarian cultural sector, and has reached a number of countries by now.

Adéu, Eduard! Isten veled, Péter!
Few of you did not know Eduard Delgado, and have not heard about his passing away. A devoted European, a proud Catalan he was, and a true friend of BO.

BO has lost another close friend: Péter Hidy was the chairman of the association that founded our observatory, and which delegates the members of our board. His seat is painfully vacant now.