Bulgarian EU presidency presents priorities for culture in Brussels
On 23 January, the Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Culture Amelia Geshava presented the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the field of culture to the Members of the European Parliament in Brussels. Speaking to the Culture Committee, the Deputy Minister stressed that cultural heritage is a horizontal priority and a strategic resource for a sustainable future for Europe.
Coinciding with the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, the Presidency will also consider how cultural heritage can be used to achieve the EU’s broad policy objectives. This perfectly resonates with the key findings of the report “Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe”, which demonstrates how cultural heritage contributes to sustainable development thanks to its positive impact on the economy, society, culture and environment.
Deputy Minister Geshava also outlined the aim to adopt Council Conclusions on cultural heritage at the end of May 2018. EU Ministers of Culture will discuss the creation of new content at the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council meeting in May. She also highlighted that the importance of culture has now been recognised at the highest level in the EU.
Other key EU policy issues during the Presidency will include the European Commission’s proposal for the next Multiannual Financial framework (foreseen for May 2018), the mid-term evaluation of the Creative Europe programme, the new Work Plan for Culture beyond 2019 and a strategic EU approach to international cultural relations.
Bulgaria is holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union until June 2018, for the first time since it joined the EU, after taking over from Estonia on 1 January 2018. Austria will hold the next Presidency from July-December 2018.
In the framework of the interinstitutional dialogue between the European Parliament and the Council, Bulgarian ministers presented the policy priorities of the Presidency in six other Committees of the European Parliament on the same day. The four overall priorities of the Presidency are the future of Europe and young people, the digital economy, security and stability, and the Western Balkans. The last is also of particular interest to Europa Nostra as South-East Europe is among the five focus areas of Europa Nostra’s network project ‘Sharing Heritage – Sharing Values’.
The Bulgarian Presidency will also organise a series of high-level conferences and meetings related to cultural heritage, including a conference on “Cultural heritage for a more sustainable Europe” on 26-27 March 2018 to which Europa Nostra will contribute.