Committees: Culture and Media /KSP/ and Foreign Affairs /SZA/ considered the information of the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sports and the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the promotion of Polish culture abroad and the activity of Polish Institutes abroad, along with the information of the Supreme Audit Office.
The information was presented by Jarosław Sellin, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sports, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Barbara Schabowska, Director of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, and Piotr Prokopczyk, Director of the Department of Science, Education and National Heritage of the Supreme Audit Office.
The Supreme Chamber of Control in 2013-2018 audited 12 entities: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Polish Film Institute, International Cultural Centre, Book Institute and six Polish institutes in: London, Tel Aviv, Beijing, New York, Berlin and Kiev.
As a result of the audit, NIK concluded that one of the main reasons why an integrated system for the promotion of Polish culture abroad is still not in place is the lack of proper cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and one of the effects is the dispersion of activities and the state budget funds allocated for them. In the years 2013-2018, the promotion of Polish culture abroad was handled, without proper coordination, by more than 120 different types of units subordinate to those ministries. However, the ministries themselves did not separate special tasks in their plans, nor did they create a separate budget for such activities, and the goals they set for themselves in this area are included in documents concerning the broadly defined promotion of Poland. Thus, NIK could not assess whether the state was effectively popularizing its culture abroad.
In response to the conclusions formulated during the audit of the Supreme Audit Office, in December 2018, Minister of Culture and National Heritage - Piotr Glinski and Minister of Foreign Affairs - Jacek Czaputowicz signed an Agreement on Cooperation in the Promotion of Polish Culture Abroad defining the areas of joint action through the construction of an integrated system for the promotion of Polish culture abroad (programming and implementation of joint projects on the promotion of Polish culture abroad, coordination of activities under the financial support mechanisms available to MKDiNS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, training and exchange of information).
In 2019-2020, the mechanisms of cooperation in the implementation of key projects for the promotion of Polish culture abroad have improved. The most important institution for the promotion of Polish culture abroad is the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. In 2020, a new program concept for 2020-2023 was approved, which refers to the set of unique values of Polish culture, shaped by centuries of Christian tradition, strong European roots, geographical location, history of the 19th and 20th centuries and transformation.
In the discussion, MEPs requested more detailed information on the activities of Polish institutes abroad and their actual spending on cultural activities. They also raised questions about the directions of cultural promotion events and their attractiveness for children and young people, the promotion of Polish inventors and scientists, the involvement of Polish artists living abroad in the promotion of Polish culture, the expenses of the Polish National Foundation for the promotion of Polish culture abroad and how the Adam Mickiewicz Institute seeks cooperation partners.
The meeting was attended by the Director of the Wacław Felczak Institute for Polish-Hungarian Cooperation, Maciej Szymanowski.