Europa Nostra holds fruitful meetings with new European Union leaders

In the first two months of 2020 Europa Nostra convened a series of meetings with the new European Union leaders, including the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, the Vice-President and Commissioner in charge of Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas. At the European Parliament, Europa Nostra met with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament, Sabine Verheyen and Dace Melbārde, as well as with Laurence Farreng, member of this Committee. These meetings aimed at continuing and enhancing Europa Nostra’s long-standing partnership with the European Commission and the European Parliament, and at nurturing a constructive dialogue with the EU leaders in charge of cultural heritage-related policies at the very start of their mandate.

A Europa Nostra Delegation – composed of its Executive President Hermann Parzinger, Executive Vice-President Guy Clausse, Secretary General Sneska-Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic and European Policy Coordinator Lorena Aldana – met with Commissioner Mariya Gabriel in Brussels on 29 January. During an inspiring and energising encounter, Europa Nostra representatives and Commissioner Mariya Gabriel exchanged on important priorities for an integrated EU heritage policy, following the successful European Year of Cultural Heritage. There was an agreement that the voice of cultural heritage ought to contribute to the Conference on the Future of Europe and also that the key role of cultural heritage should be highlighted within the context of EU’s enlargement, especially with regard to its relations with Western Balkans, and in the framework of the overall international relations of the European Union.

Other topics discussed were related to endangered heritage; the relevance of EU Solidarity Corps, DiscoverEU programme and other actions related to mobilising youth for the safeguard of heritage, as well as the importance of cultural heritage-led innovation and widening access to heritage through digital means. Among the key joint actions discussed were the European Heritage Awards/ Europa Nostra Awards, run by Europa Nostra in collaboration with the European Commission, the 7 Most Endangered programme, run by Europa Nostra in partnership with the European Investment Bank Institute, both supported by the EU Creative Europe programme, and ILUCIDARE, a three-year project funded by the Horizon 2020 EU programme and in which Europa Nostra is involved.

Europa Nostra shared its long-term expectations for EU heritage policy with Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, including the messages of the Paris Manifesto: “Relançons l’Europe par la culture et le patrimoine culturel”. Europa Nostra representatives greatly appreciated the clear vision and strong commitment of Mariya Gabriel to ensuring the legacy of European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and reaffirmed their willingness to support the European Commission in every possible way as to unleash the full potential of our shared cultural heritage for the future of Europe. Finally, Europa Nostra warmly invited Commissioner Mariya Gabriel to the forthcoming European Cultural Heritage Summit to be held in Brussels from 20-23 June 2020.

A Europa Nostra Delegation – composed of its Vice-President Androulla Vassiliou, Secretary General Sneska-Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic and Head of Brussels Office Jimmy Jamar – met with the European Commission Vice-President in charge of Promoting our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas on 6 February in Brussels. Among other responsibilities, Margaritis Schinas is in charge of harnessing the full potential of culture to bring Europe’s communities closer together and to preserve and promote European values. Throughout the lively meeting, Europa Nostra and the Commission Vice-President discussed how cultural heritage can enhance the image of the EU, both internally and externally, as well as give a deeper meaning to the so-called ‘European Way of Life’. Europa Nostra representatives stressed the vital contribution of our shared cultural heritage to the different priorities of the European Commission, including the EU Green Deal as well as the forthcoming Conference on the Future of Europe to be launched on 9 May 2020.

Europa Nostra Secretary General Sneska-Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, Vice-President Piet Jaspaert and Head of Brussels Office Jimmy Jamar held a fruitful meeting with the Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament Sabine Verheyen on 30 January and subsequently with the Vice-Chair of the same Committee Dace Melbārde on 5 February. The objective of such meetings was to discuss the best way in which Europa Nostra can collaborate with the CULT Committee over the new legislative term to ensure that cultural heritage is on the top of the political priorities of the European Union. During these two important meetings, Europa Nostra reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring the legacy of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and to advocate for a vital increase of EU investment on the Creative Europe programme within the next Multi-Financial Framework budget. Europa Nostra was also proud to contribute and provide input to the European Parliament’s report on “Achieving an effective policy legacy for the European Year of Cultural Heritage”, for which the Vice-Chair of the CULT Committee Dace Melbārde acts as Rapporteur.

Next steps

In the following weeks, Europa Nostra will convene similar introductory meetings with other members of the European Commission with competences related directly or indirectly to cultural heritage, as well as with high-level representatives of all EU institutions, including the European Parliament and the EU Committee of the Regions.

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