Up until now, the Finnish National Opera and National Theatre have been the biggest recipients of funding from gaming company Veikkaus, which organises the national lottery.
According to Arhinmäki, a part of the arts funds previously channelled from Veikkaus to the National Opera and National Theatre will be given to art museums.
Speaking on Yle’s morning television talk show, the minister said he hoped the new funding arrangements did not lead to any jobs cuts.”However, it is clear we need to reasses the funding of the National Opera and National Theatre, just as we need to do with all others,” Arhinmäki explained.
Arhinmäki indicated he was particularly keen to promote initiatives that help to get more people interested in art and culture.
The minister known for his passion for sports said he also wanted to increase children’s opportunities to take part in sports hobbies. Arhinmäki said he believes such hobbies have become too expensive.
“We will increase support for sports clubs,” the Minister promised, as a measure to help bring down the expenses of children’s’ hobbies.
National Opera and Theatre directors respond
The directors of the National Opera and National Theatre criticised Minister Arhinmäki's comments about funding cuts without job losses as unrealistic.
Päivi Kärkkäinen, the Director of the National Opera, says more cuts would inevitably lead to layoffs. She sees the proposed cuts as a cultural-political move, which would severely restrict and damage the art form of opera.
For his part, the Director of Finland's National Theatre Mika Myllyaho says the cuts sound extreme, and that savings planned earlier in the spring are already causing difficulties to the operation of the theatre.