Value of Cultural Heritage debated at the European Business Summit 2018
On 24 May 2018, for the first time ever, a full session dedicated to cultural heritage took place during the European Business Summit, one of the most far-reaching and influential debating and networking platforms in Europe, held annually in the historic setting of the Egmont Palace in Brussels. The European Business Summit 2018 attracted over 1,700 participants and 175 high-level speakers. It gave business representatives the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with key EU decision-makers and demonstrate that business can play a key part in developing solutions to the most pressing issues in Europe.
In addition to highlighting the value and multiple benefits of cultural heritage for our society, environment and well-being of Europe’s citizens, the Agora Session entitled “European Year of Cultural Heritage: investing in cultural heritage pays off” aimed to showcase the economic potential of investing and promoting cultural heritage in cities and countryside throughout the continent.
As demonstrated in the EU-funded Report “Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe” coordinated by Europa Nostra between 2013 and 2015, an estimated 300,000 people work directly in the EU’s cultural heritage sector with as many as 7.8 million jobs created indirectly by the sector. For each direct job, the heritage sector produces up to 26.7 indirect ones, for example in the construction and tourism sectors. To compare, the ratio in the car industry is 6.3 indirect jobs for each direct job. Cultural Heritage is therefore a vital part of Europe’s economy and a key resource for sustainable development, with related growth and employment. With concrete figures, the session aimed to reach out to the economic, financial and business community and convince them to invest in this unique capital.
The session, moderated by Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, gathered Viviane Hoffmann, Deputy Director General of DG Education and Culture, who retraced the latest EU policy developments related to cultural heritage, including the recent European Commission proposal for a New European Agenda for Culture with a strong heritage dimension;
Rodolphe de Looz-Corswarem, Executive President of the European Historic Houses Association, also on behalf of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3, who stressed the entrepreneurial dimension of many private owners and the importance of tourism for the European Union; Gerry Salole, Chief Executive of the European Foundation Centre, who introduced the forthcoming EFC Annual Conference 2018 entitled “Culture Matters: connecting citizens and uniting communities”; and Karel Lannoo, Chief Executive of the think tank CEPS, who put cultural heritage in the broader debate on European values and the rebuilding of Europe.
After a first round of introduction by all the panellists, a lively discussion with the audience took place regarding the role of cultural heritage for the economy and for Europe.