Cultural Heritage for the Future of Europe – Europa Nostra reaction on the proposals formulated by the Conference on the Future of Europe

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Adopted in Kraków on 10 May 2022

On the occasion of their meeting held in Kraków on 9 and 10 May 2022 – marking this year’s Europe Day – the members of the Europa Nostra Council duly acknowledge and welcome the final report and the list of 49 proposals formulated within the Conference on the Future of Europe. These proposals were conveyed on Europe Day to the Presidents of the three co-chairing Institutions of the European Union, namely the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, on behalf of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Conference on the Future of Europe – Closing Event, 9 May 2022. Photographer: Mathieu CUGNOT. Copyright: © European Union 2022 – Source: EP


We commend the unprecedented participatory approach put forward by the Conference by empowering randomly selected citizens to deliberate on the Future of Europe, as well as the participatory process of duly involving citizens, elected representatives from across the EU and civil society organisations in the Plenary sessions. Europa Nostra was represented in the Plenary of the Conference through the European Movement International of which our organisation is an active member.

We regret, however, that the important and authoritative voices of culture and cultural heritage were not directly represented within the Plenary of the Conference. As it is widely known, these vital areas of our society and economy provide creative opportunities to improve social and democratic participation and enhance civic engagement and awareness. Our shared heritage, history and values are indeed at the very heart of the European project and are the foundations of what brings us together, since they contribute to our sense of belonging to a wider European family.

We conveyed this vital message in our Venice Call to Action: “For a New European Renaissance”, published in September 2021 at our European Cultural Heritage Summit held in Venice, with the participation, among others, of Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President of the European Commission, in her capacity as a Co-Chair of the Executive Board of the Conference on the Future of Europe. In this document we called on European leaders to “ensure the adequate inclusion of cultural heritage in the debates of the Conference on the Future of Europe, including through proper representation in its Plenary and final Conclusions”. We also included this message in our Call for a Cultural Deal for Europe, which we are jointly promoting with Culture Action Europe and the European Cultural Foundation.

While regretting the absence of direct and explicit inclusion of representative civil society voices from the world of culture and cultural heritage in the Plenary of the Conference, we remain confident that this omission will be corrected in the follow-up process to the Conference. In the meantime, we wish to express our strong endorsement of the vital aims formulated in the proposals included in the chapter on “Education, Culture, Youth and Sport”, namely:

  • to safeguard and celebrate Europe’s culture and heritage, enhance mobility opportunities within the EU – including educational, travel and professional exchanges – and promote their contribution to the
    Sustainable Development Goals, notably via the New European Bauhaus (proposal 48),
  • to enhance education about EU values and the history of Europe
    (proposal 46),
  • to engage young people in decision-making processes at all levels(proposal 47), as well as
  • to promote sport as a way of celebrating Europe’s cultural diversity and heritage (proposal 49).

We also fully endorse the ambitious proposals formulated in other key chapters, such as “Climate change and the environment” (which are in line with the recommendations put forward in our European Cultural Heritage Green Paper: “Putting Europe’s shared heritage at the heart of the European Green Deal”), “Health”, “A stronger economy, social justice and jobs”, “Values and rights, rule of law, security”, “European democracy” and “EU in the world”.

Although culture and cultural heritage are not explicitly mentioned in many of these other recommendations and proposals, we would like to highlight their invaluable role as vectors contributing to the implementation of all above-mentioned strategic goals for the future of Europe. They indeed represent essential components to all key policies and agendas of the EU, from climate action, peace and dialogue, to health and well-being of citizens and communities, social inclusion and cohesion, digital transformation, innovation and research, urban and rural development, economic growth and democratic participation as well as external relations.

At a time when a brutal and illegal war is raging again on our continent and our fundamental values are under attack not only outside but also inside the European Union, the Conference on the Future of Europe has accelerated the momentum for bringing the process of European integration to the next level, for the benefit of our citizens who aspire to live in a more peaceful, sustainable, inclusive and beautiful Europe based on our shared culture and heritage.

We therefore reiterate our appeal to EU leaders – at all levels of governance – to duly incorporate the vital contribution and role of culture and cultural heritage in the follow-up process, including the possible launch of a new European Convention, that will be set in motion in response to the proposals put forward by the Conference on the Future of Europe.

As a key civil society organisation and voice dedicated to enhancing what constitutes the soul, heart and spirit of the European project, Europa Nostra intends to fully mobilise its resources and wide network across Europe to contribute pro-actively to this process in order to place culture and cultural heritage where they belong: at the very heart of the European project.

Council Meeting Kraków - 09/10-05-2022

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