Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announces that young people who turn 18 in 2022 will receive a €400 culture pass.
Talking at the Ljubljana's EU-Western Balkans summit on Wednesday, Sánchez said the pass can be spent on anything from books to concerts, cinema and theatre tickets, to dance and music.
He said it would help to improve access to culture for young people, while at the same time help to grow the finances of the Spanish culture industry, which took a big hit during the Covid pandemic.
Mr Sánchez had also initially stated that the culture pass would include bullfighting, but Minister of Culture, Miquel Iceta, later declared that bullfighting would not be included and according to Cadena Ser, neither will subscriptions for streaming platforms.
However, young adults will be able to buy video games with the culture pass.
Mr Iceta added that “it’s like an 18th birthday present, and I would love it if they spent it at the opera or a classical music concert.”
The €400 will be assigned to all young people as soon as they turn 18 years old in 2022.
The Culture and Sports Ministry will be in charge of rolling out the new scheme, which will cost around €200 million. The Ministry also calculates that as many as half a million young people across the country will be eligible.
"For the Government, this implies an effort to make the idea that culture should be available to everyone, and also so that young people have a stimulus to approach culture and consume it," explains Iceta.
When the money is issued, it will be divided into different sections, although how much has not yet been announced. It’s also isn’t yet clear whether the pass will be used with a phone app, like in France and Italy, or a different system completely.
The new initiative will see Spain join neighbouring countries such as France and Italy, where young people have been given €500 and €300 bonuses respectively to spend on culture.
“It is a measure that is committed to young people and to an industry that has suffered so much in these months of the pandemic," the Spanish Prime Minister explained.
Vice-president Yolanda Díaz, leader of Unidas Podemos, said that “supporting the arts and young people’s futures was an essential condition in the budget, which must act as an impulse for culture”.
While Ione Belarra, minister of Social Rights and the leader of the junior coalition party Unidas Podemos tweeted that “The budget agreement will include a youth culture pass, after a proposal by Unidas Podemos.”
The culture pass statement comes just a few days after the Spanish government declared that it would be embarking on a new housing scheme that would see mid-income earners aged between 18 and 35 years of age, receive a €250 discount off their rent each month.
Both plans were announced as part of the Spanish government's 2022 planned budget, but it will still need to be approved by the Spanish Cabinet when they meet on Thursday.
Image Credit: La Moncloa
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