In its September session, the legislative body of the Canton of Bern (Grosser Rat) debated the motion ‘No taxpayers’ money for the Gurlitt Collection’ submitted by the politician Samuel Leuenberger.
The motion demands that the executive body of the Canton of Bern (Regierungsrat) must ensure that the Canton of Bern will not provide the Museum of Fine Arts Bern (‘the Museum’) with any financial or human resources for the Gurlitt collection, including, but not limited to, taking possession of, maintaining and displaying the collection, as well as solving legal disputes concerning the rightful ownership of the collection.
The motion is being submitted at a time when it is not clear whether the Museum will even accept the bequest of the late Mr Gurlitt. The deadline for the acceptance of the bequest ends six months from the reading of the will.
The executive body of the Canton of Bern has taken the view that it would be premature to take such a fundamental decision and to a priori exclude the possibility of any contribution by the Canton of Bern. In addition, the executive body is aware that a negative attitude by the Canton of Bern in this high profile case might discourage other potential donors in the future.
The legislative body of the Canton of Bern followed the opinion of the governmental body of the Canton of Bern and dismissed the motion by a large majority.
Sources: Voting Records of the legislative Body of the Canton of Bern dated 1st September 2014; Reasoning of the executive body of the Canton of Bern dated 13th August 2014; Press Release of the Kunstmuseum of Bern dated 3rd June 2014.