Europa Nostra delegation discusses cohesion policy with EU Commissioner Cretu

A Europa Nostra delegation met with European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu in Brussels on 27 February to discuss EU cohesion policy and the specific role of cultural heritage in that context . The Commissioner’s portfolio includes cohesion policy from which cultural heritage projects have substantially benefited. Since 2007, for instance, around EUR 11 billion were allocated to heritage-related projects under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (see document). Moreover, the European Commission is expected to present its proposals for the post-2020 programming period in May this year.

Group photo with Piet Jaspaert, Corina Creţu, Sneška Quadvlieg-Mihailović and Guy Clausse (from left to right)
© European Union , 2018 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Georges Boulougouris

The Europa Nostra delegation was composed of Secretary General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Vice-President Piet Jaspaert and Board Member Guy Clausse. Commissioner Crețu was accompanied by her Deputy Head of Cabinet, Ioana Rus, and by the Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, Normunds Popens.

Besides the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2018 in Berlin (Germany) and the European Heritage Congress 2019 in Sibiu (Romania), topics discussed included the 7 Most Endangered heritage site of Rosia Montana in Romania and, of course, cohesion policy and funding for cultural heritage. Here, Europa Nostra suggested to communicate more intensely about successful heritage-related projects that were funded under cohesion policy. Incidentally, the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 coincides with the 30th anniversary of cohesion policy.

Commissioner Crețu informed the Europa Nostra delegation about the provisional agreement reached recently on the cohesion part of the so-called proposed ‘Omnibus regulation’. This provisional agreement foresees a simplification of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) provisions and higher funding ceilings for heritage-related projects. Concretely, the modified provisions would foresee that “investment into cultural and sustainable tourism infrastructure (…) shall be considered small scale and eligible for support, if the ERDF co-financing does not exceed EUR 10 million” and the co-financing ceiling would even be raised to EUR 20 million “in the case of infrastructure considered to be world cultural heritage”. It is expected to be adopted by the Council later this year. The proposed modifications would significantly improve financial support for heritage-related projects and sites.

Sneška Quadvlieg-Mihailović, on the right, giving the book ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’ to Corina Creţu
© European Union , 2018 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Georges Boulougouris

In the light of this, Europa Nostra’s Secretary General was pleased to present the Commissioner with the report “Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe”, which provides compelling evidence of the value of heritage and its positive impact on Europe’s economy, culture and society as well as the environment. The Executive Summary is also available in Romanian thanks to the support of Europa Nostra’s partners.

Further information about the proposed ‘Omnibus regulation’

The ‘Omnibus regulation’ is the legal proposal of the European Commission presented in 2016 that contains changes to the financial rules that apply to the EU’s general budget with the aim of simplification. Concretely, the proposed changes concern the legal instruments for multiannual funding programmes in the area of structural and investment funds but also agriculture. While the agricultural package was split from the remainder of the proposed regulation and an agreement found in December 2017, the cohesion part has not yet been adopted.

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