European Parliament intergroup discusses achievements of European Year of Cultural Heritage

Invited to provide an assessment on the goals achieved by the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 (EYCH) and future prospects, Europa Nostra’s Secretary General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović contributed to the meeting of the European Parliament intergroup “European tourism development, cultural heritage, ways of St. James and other European cultural routes” in Brussels on 9 October.

The meeting was opened by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and Co-Chair Francisco Millán Mon from Spain and his colleague Co-Chair Claudia Tarpadel MEP from Romania. In her opening remarks, Vice-Chair Silvia Costa MEP from Italy stressed in particular the importance of strengthening the cultural heritage dimension in the next EU budget and future funding programmes.

With a view to giving an overview of how the European Year of Cultural Heritage is unfolding across the continent, Catherine Magnant, Head of Task Force EYCH 2018 at the European Commission, presented key figures that speak for themselves: in the first half of the year alone, more than 6,300 events were organised reaching over 3,6 million people and many more are to come. Among the many creative initiatives that contributed to reaching a wider audience she cited also Europa Nostra’s #Ode2Joy Challenge.

Catherine Magnant also acknowledged the crucial role that the European Parliament played in obtaining the European Year and the dedicated budget of EUR 8 million under the Creative Europe programme. As announced in the New European Agenda for Culture proposed by the European Commission on 22 May, the Commission will present an EU Action Plan for Cultural Heritage in December that will seek to sustain the legacy of the EYCH 2018 and maintain the momentum and engagement of the various stakeholders.

In turn, Ambassador Zoltan Taubner, Director of the Liaison Office of the Council of Europe with the EU in Brussels, highlighted how European cultural routes also involve local businesses and enterprises and stressed their readiness to contribute to the Action Plan.

From a civil society perspective, Europa Nostra’s Secretary General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović applauded the success of the Year and the key role of the European Parliament, not without mentioning the efforts of the European Commission Task Force in coordinating the Year at European level and voiced her support for a future boosting of the capacities of this Task Force. Stressing the need “to change the tone of the narrative in Europe”, she also presented the Berlin Call to Action “Cultural Heritage for the Future of Europe” to the audience and reiterated the need for an independent platform of stakeholders that would sustain the legacy beyond the existence of the current format of the “EYCH 2018 Stakeholders’ Committee” with its limited resources and room for manoeuvre.

By way of concluding, Co-Chair Millán Mon suggested to convene another meeting of the intergroup in early 2019 to take stock of the achievements of the European Year.

Background

List of members of the intergroup “European tourism development, cultural heritage, Way of St. James and other European cultural routes”
More about intergroups in the European Parliament here.

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