Europa Nostra welcomes the European Commission‘s proposal for a post-2020 EU budget for culture

Canisy / Paris, 8 May 2018 – During their meetings in France, the Europa Nostra Board and Council welcomed the European Commission’s proposal to increase the budget for the future Creative Europe programme from EUR 1.4 billion (2014-2020) to EUR 1.8 billion (2021-2027) and, most importantly, to keep it as a stand-alone programme. As the Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe and founding member of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3, Europa Nostra considers that it is crucial for the EU to continue supporting transnational projects and initiatives in the field of culture with a specific programme rather than by submerging it under other priorities. In the light of current political challenges of the EU, the proposal with its budgetary increase is a much needed political signal.

The proposed future Creative Europe programme, also including MEDIA actions, would be part of the budget heading on cohesion and values and be one of the programmes aiming at investing in people, social cohesion and values like Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps. This is an important acknowledgement of the contribution of culture – including cultural heritage – to social cohesion in Europe and to fostering a European identity. In fact, Europa Nostra has repeatedly stressed the multiple benefits of cultural heritage not only for Europe’s culture and cultural outreach in the world, but also for Europe’s economy, society and environment as demonstrated in the 2015 report ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’. In the light of its compelling evidence, it is fully justified to invest even more in cultural heritage so as to tap into its full potential. While the Creative Europe funding provides one important element of support, even more funding comes from the EU’s cohesion policy.

On this occasion, the Europa Nostra Board and Council reiterate the statement issued by Europa Nostra on 26 March calling for political and budgetary recognition of cultural heritage as a key resource for the EU’s future cohesion policy. In the past, a significant investment contribution came notably from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), amounting to EUR 5 billion since 2014 for cultural and cultural heritage projects. As signatory of the #Cohesion Alliance, Europa Nostra calls for sufficient resources to be allocated also for the post-2020 period by stepping up the support or at least matching previous levels. Such investments are key to successfully addressing major European policy challenges, such as reducing regional disparities within and between EU regions as well as reducing unemployment and promoting social inclusion and sustainable development.

In this context, Europa Nostra recalls that the EU Structural Funds like the ERDF follow the principles of shared management, thus conferring an important role to the national and also regional authorities in the preparation, decision-making and implementation of concrete actions, also in the field of cultural heritage. Europa Nostra therefore calls on the European Commission and equally on the responsible national and/or regional authorities to create mechanisms and procedures which are conducive to identifying a growing number of high-quality cultural heritage proposals within the initiatives supported through the EU Structural Funds. Likewise, Europa Nostra strongly suggests to include, wherever possible, civil society and its organisations in the preparation and identification of programmes aiming at supporting cultural heritage investment so as to fully harvest the many socio-economic benefits of such investments – especially at the regional and local level.

Europa Nostra’s Board and Council now call on the Council and the European Parliament to take this into due consideration and to seize the opportunity of both the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and the 30th anniversary of EU Cohesion Policy to agree on a post-2020 EU budget that fully reflects the important role of culture and cultural heritage for European identity and European society.

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