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G20 ministers meeting to put culture to forefront — Italian Minister

According to Dario Franceschini, "culture is the capstone in relations between Italy and Russia, serving as the foundation for bilateral economic, trade and political ties"
Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini EPA-EFE/GIUSEPPE LAMI
Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini
© EPA-EFE/GIUSEPPE LAMI

ROME, July 29. /TASS/. The Culture Ministers Meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20) put the culture to the forefront for recovery after the pandemic, Culture Minister of Italy Dario Franceschini told TASS in an interview. 

"The G20 ministers have put culture to the center of the post-pandemic agenda. The world of art stimulates human development, economic growth, and provides jobs. Therefore, it can be considered an industry of a kind. The meeting program will comprise a discussion of cultural heritage preservation during natural cataclysms and in conflict zones, and combating illegal trade and smuggling of art objects," the Minister said. Italy wants to continue the Blue Helmets for Culture program, Franceschini said. "This mission has proved to be an effective method in the hands of the global community when there is a pressing need for a quick response to a situation when cultural objects are threatened by natural cataclysms or terrorism. This experience dates back to the declaration signed as part of the Expo 2015 in Milan, including by Russia. We hope your country will make an important contribution to the continuation of this mission," the Minister noted.

Cultural ties between Russia and Italy

Culture is the capstone in relations between Italy and Russia, serving as the foundation for bilateral economic, trade and political ties, the Minister said. "Our nations are mutually excited with the cultural heritage of our countries — in music, literature, drama and motion pictures. This helps to keep strong bridges between our countries at any historical moment and long may it continue," Franceschini said.

The program of museum exchanges intended for 2021 will be renewed in 2022, the Minister said. "The Ministry is working on a new program that will be extended to cover 2022 because all cultural institutions in Italy were closed until April 26 due to the pandemic. Initiatives for new cultural projects have multiplied, including museum exchange programs and activities on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Fyodor Dostoevsky, who spent important parts of his life in Italy and is linked to the cultural tradition of our country," Franceschini noted.

Pandemic consequence

"It is impossible to put a value on the damage to culture from the pandemic but it is absolutely obvious that the greater portion of the decline in Italian GDP is accounted for by the pandemic, which has led to the closure of international tourism. This has had a tremendous influence on the culture sector. The view of deserted Italian squares usually full of tourists is a stark demonstration of the extent of the lockdown’s influence on our economy, where culture is the linchpin," the Minister said.