France’s new Culture Minister, Rachida Dati, has put a focus on accessibility for all after being appointed to the role by President Emmanuel Macron.
Dati replaces the outgoing Rima Abdul Malak in the position, which is responsible for the maintenance of the French identity through the promotion and protection of the arts on national soil and abroad. The Ministry of Culture is the department of government in charge of national museums, historic monuments and culture centres across the country.
In a speech delivered after assuming office, the conservative politician, who is of Moroccan descent, emphasised “the importance of having a shared culture to feel fully belonging to a country.”
Dati, who is Mayor of the 7th district of Paris and a member of the Council of Paris, noted the cultural hegemony of the capital city but added that culture must be supported in cities and regions, in all territories.
Importance of Culture Pass
Dati also put a focus on the importance of the national Culture Pass, which allows young people to access discounted cultural activities. These include theatre, cinema and live music tickets as well as music lessons and even magazine subscriptions.
Dati said: “During his wishes for 2024, the President of the Republic spoke of the rearmament of France. In this rearmament, culture has an essential place to play, the cultural and creative industries, new diffusion technologies as well and above all artistic and cultural education.
“It is important that culture is accessible to everyone, especially young people. This is the purpose of the Culture Pass. It must be an instrument of popular education. May it participate in the defence of the values we hold dear.
“I believe in the importance of its place in the education of younger generations. This will be one of the priorities that I will share ardently with my colleague, Minister of National Education. I also believe that the essential foundation of Europe is the culture that we share and that we must bring to life together.”
Dati is a former Justice Minister and served as an MEP for more than 10 years. She is under investigation by France’s financial crimes unit which is seeking to discover whether the €900,000 (£770,000/$978,000) she received for consulting work while she was a European Parliament member was corruption. Dati denies the allegations.