EU Council adopts far-reaching Conclusions on Cultural Heritage

On 23 May, the European Union Ministers of Culture adopted far-reaching conclusions on the need of bringing cultural heritage to the fore across policies in the EU. They also discussed their long-term vision for the contribution of culture to the EU after 2020. After the meeting, the Bulgarian minister of culture, Boil Banov, summed up the Council Conclusions as a “call upon member states to continue working as if each year is the European Year of Cultural Heritage”. The Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union had particularly focused their work on integrating cultural heritage into other EU policies and on the contribution of culture to the EU beyond 2020. Europa Nostra warmly welcomes the Council conclusions and congratulates the Bulgarian Presidency for this achievement.

“For all cultural heritage stakeholders, this is a fantastic development: the EU Ministers of Culture have seized the opportunity of the European Year of Cultural Heritage to adopt forward-looking conclusions exclusively dedicated to cultural heritage. Europa Nostra – together with our partners from the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 – has been advocating for years the need to put cultural heritage higher on the political agenda. We are therefore very pleased to see today such a strong political momentum for culture and cultural heritage among all EU Institutions. Our forthcoming European Cultural Heritage Summit 2018 will provide the perfect occasion to move forward and articulate the main elements of the future EU Agenda and Action Plan for Cultural Heritage,” stated Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, referring also to the European Policy Debate that will takes place on 22 June with the participation of several Ministers of Culture: Lydia Koniordou, Minister of Culture and Sports, Greece; Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Minister of Culture, Croatia; Françoise Nyssen, Minister of Culture, France.

The Council Conclusions comprise key heritage-related recommendations addressed to the EU Member States and to the European Commission. This includes, among others, to “bring cultural heritage to the fore in relevant EU policies”, and to examine whether “a more explicit focus on the preservation and promotion of Europe’s common cultural heritage in relevant EU programmes” could be introduced. Europa Nostra particularly welcomes the call “to deepen and broaden the dialogue with the civil society organisations” and, above all, the call to sustain the legacy of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 by means of a “shared and comprehensive strategic vision for cultural heritage” and “developing concrete actions”.

During the debate, the Ministers of Culture of all EU member states unanimously stressed the important potential of culture and cultural heritage as cohesive forces for the European Union. In reaction to Ministers’ interventions, Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, acknowledged and thanked them for their broad support for a self-standing culture programme in the next multiannual financial framework as proposed by the European Commission on 2 May.

On 22 May, Ministers also discussed education and youth-related topics (see outcomes). Today’s debate builds on previous policy developments such as the EU Leaders’ discussion during the Gothenburg Social Summit in November 2017 (see news item) and the Council Conclusions of 14 December (see news item). Moreover, it takes into account the proposal for a new European Agenda for Culture presented by the European Commission on the previous day (see news item) as well as an opinion of the European Committee of the Regions on ‘Cultural Heritage as a strategic resource for more cohesive and sustainable regions in the EU’ (see news item).

 

References:

Meeting page

Video recording of the public debate

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