Meeting with representatives of the artistic world, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had today at Megaro MaximosAt the meeting, which took place in a creative atmosphere to find solutions to problems that have been going on for at least two decades, the demands of the artists were thoroughly discussed. The following emerged from the discussion:

– The establishment of a School of Performing Arts the creation of which was announced by the government, is a positive step in art education. For this purpose, Working Groups have been set up which, by the end of March, will submit a specific framework for the character of the School and its mode of operation, from 2025. Within the context of the Higher School of Performing Arts, the possibility of admission to it through exams will be evaluated graduates from other related schools.

– By the end of the week, a specific proposal will be submitted by the Government in order to remedy the issue that arose in 2017 and concerns the differentiation in terms of salary and in terms of grade development of graduates of drama schools and dance schools regardless of their graduation year (before or after 2003), for the provision of artistic-educational and related work in the public .

– Agreement on the existence of horizontal academic permeabilityi.e. the possibility of entry of graduates of drama and related schools with qualifying exams in the 3rd semester of HEI departments.

At the beginning of the meeting, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made the following statement:

I am very pleased that we are being given the opportunity to have this debate on a subject which, as you are well aware, has occupied much of the public debate and has also occupied us a great deal internally. And let me start by telling you, you have a right to feel hurt about the state’s perennial indifference to matters related to arts education and academic recognition of your rights.

It is certain that many mistakes have been made in the past and by previous governments. We are not here to hide the problem under the carpet, we are here to solve problems and we certainly have no reason or plan – because I heard them in the public debate – to put the artistic world against us. And I think we’re here to honestly clear up some misunderstandings that I think have arisen from the public debate around this issue.

I understand that to a large extent the subject we will discuss today has an academic or, I would say, value dimension. I don’t think that what you are primarily interested in, your first priority, is how you will be hired by the public, especially for items that have nothing to do with your artistic occupation.

And of course I want to repeat that the infamous Presidential Decree which created all this very long debate was published in view of a very large ASEP competition in the context of a great effort to reform and reorganize the human resources of the public sector. And of course I think – you already know this well – that this Presidential Decree does not recognize new academic or professional rights nor does it modify existing provisions of the legislation around them and that the employment of artists in the public sector for artistic work is expressly excluded from the Presidential Decree, ASEP and the uniform payroll.

In any case, with the amendment we have voted, we have returned to the status quo ante, that is, what was in effect before the publication of the Presidential Decree. So we are at the point where it was before there was all this great mobilization on the part of artists.

Therefore, what I want to understand from you today is not so much how we can cure something that we judge that in terms of the Presidential Decree we have already cured, but to see some chronic pathologies in the matters that have to do with artistic education, gradation, the academic career that an artist can follow and I hope we can come up with at least a road map of how we can move from here.

You will hear from us things that can be done and things that cannot be done, because I think you all realize that there are also constitutional limitations on the ability to provide private higher education. And as long as Article 16 is not changed, this is not something that will be possible.

I will of course be very happy, I must say, when this reform goes ahead – because it is our intention in the next constitutional reform to change article 16 – those who protested strongly and asked for the recognition of the possibility of private education to provides degrees which will be essentially university, to support us in this great effort that we will make then.

I stop here. We have together all the relevant Ministers, General Secretaries and officials who can enlighten aspects of the discussion. And to begin, because the purpose is to listen to you.

The meeting chaired by the Prime Minister was attended by, on behalf of the Government, the Minister of State Giorgos Gerapetritis, the Minister of State Akis Skertsos, the Deputy Minister of Culture Nikolas Giatromanolakis, the General Secretary of Modern Culture Eleni Doundoulaki, the General Secretary of Human Resources Vivi Charalambogianni, the General Secretary of Higher Education Odysseus-Ioannis Zoras, the General Secretary of Vocational Education, of Training and Lifelong Learning Giorgos Voutsinos and the Secretary General of Coordination Thanasis Kontogeorgis.

On behalf of the artists, the President of the Panhellenic Auditorium Federation Konstantinos Kehagioglou, the General Secretary of SEH Aris Laskos, the President of the Union of Dance Workers Mina Ananiadou, the President of the Panhellenic Music Association Vassilis Paraskevopoulos, the Artistic Director of the National Yiannis Moschos, the Artistic Director of the State Theater of Northern Greece Asteris Peltekis, the Director of Studies of the Drama School of the National Theater Dio Kagelaris, the Director of Studies of the School of the State Theater of Northern Greece Yiannis Rigas, the representative of the students of the Drama School of the National Theater Thanos Papadogiannis, the representative of private drama schools Michalis Kalambokis and the legal adviser of the unions Manos Eleftheroglou.