The president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region Laurent Wauquiez (LR), criticized for budget cuts in culture, defends his choices of a territorial "rebalancing" and attacks the minister who according to him "would do better to get out of the in-between and Parisianism", in the JDD.
The cultural policy of the former president of the Republicans has been denounced in recent weeks by the cultural and political world. "What crime have I committed that would be worth cultural excommunication?" said Laurent Wauquiez in this interview, recalling that when he took the region to the left at the end of 2015, the budget for culture was 59 million euros, against 77 million today.
When I took over the region on the left, the budget for culture was EUR 59 million. It is now EUR 77 million. At the time, 300 festivals were supported by the region. Today, there are more than 500.
What I am accused of is having put a blow ...
— Laurent Wauquiez (@laurentwauquiez) May 28, 2023
Through the critics, the right-wing elected official sees "a dangerous drift of our cultural policy": "The Ministry of Culture has become a window, a machine for running subsidies that a small handful of people consider to be due".
"A two-speed culture" according to Wauquiez
"The majority of the Ministry of Culture's appropriations are reserved for Paris, the Île-de-France region and some metropolises" and "there are cultural deserts in our country as there are medical deserts," he also said, referring to "a two-speed culture".
Thus, "I want to pay the same attention to the theater of Lyon, which is lucky to benefit from hundreds of thousands of euros of state funding, as to that of Oyonnax which, him, is totally forgotten by the Minister of Culture," explains the president of the region, defending himself from disadvantaging the cities in the hands of his political opponents.
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"The Minister of Culture must explain herself on this subject instead of dodging. I ask him to make transparency on the distribution by territory of the ministry's credits, "continues Laurent Wauquiez. Rima Abdul Malak "would do better to get out of the inner circle and Parisianism," he said.
"Why did you decide to make culture your enemy?"
The minister was concerned about Laurent Wauquiez's choices. "We see where his priorities are," she said recently in reference to the major projects he carries out - Museum of Fabrics, "House of the Little Prince" in the birthplace of the writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, tourist site dedicated to Gallic civilization on the Gergovie plateau.
"Laurent Wauquiez, why did you decide to make culture your enemy? In addition it does not look like you, your background, you are a very cultured person, you were not like that before. What's going on? ", she asked again Saturday night on France 2.