Europa Nostra’s NEB Taskforce advocates a peace and dialogue-oriented approach to the New European Bauhaus

The first Europa Nostra’s New European Bauhaus Taskforce meeting of 2022 took place online on 28 February with fruitful discussions around the group’s role and future plans. In the light of the war in Ukraine and the recent developments in Europe, participants also exchanged on the need for a peace and dialogue-oriented approach to the New European Bauhaus (NEB) initiative.

Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, started the meeting by mentioning the statement Europa Nostra stands in solidarity with Ukraine, in which “Europa Nostra strongly condemns the brutal invasion by Russia’s army of Ukraine” and “calls for an immediate end to this unacceptable act of aggression and for the restoration of peace in Europe”. In this context, she stressed the importance of initiatives like the New European Bauhaus.

The New European Bauhaus (NEB) is a creative and interdisciplinary initiative launched by the European Commission in January 2021 that links the European Green Deal to living spaces and experiences, calling on a participatory approach for the building of a sustainable and inclusive future that also carries beauty for “our eyes, minds, and souls”.

 

As an official partner of the New European Bauhaus, Europa Nostra has set up a dedicated Taskforce gathering a dozen members from its network, whose role is to provide expertise and guidance to our work related to the NEB. The activities of our NEB Taskforce shall be scaled up in the next three years thanks to the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union through our Network project European Cultural Heritage Agora: “Empowering Europe’s Civil Society Movement for Heritage” (2022-2024).

The meeting saw for the first time the participation of external guests, alongside members of the Taskforce and Europa Nostra’s International Secretariat, namely MEP Marcos Ros Sempere, founder of the European Parliament’s New European Bauhaus Friendship Group and co-rapporteur of a joint CULT-ITRE report on the New European Bauhaus, and Alexandra Mitsotaki, Co-founder and President of the World Human Forum and member of the New European Bauhaus High-Level Roundtable.

Ahead of an important meeting of shadow rapporteurs on the European Parliament’s NEB report on 4 March, to which Europa Nostra has been invited to contribute as a stakeholder, members of the Taskforce exchanged views with MEP Marcos Ros Sempere. The co-rapporteur presented the timeline and the main points to be addressed by the joint CULT-ITRE committee in their report, a document that will be submitted to the European Parliament plenary for adoption in the autumn of 2022. The report will address the main objectives of the New European Bauhaus, its governance and funding, its areas of influence and development as well as its implementation.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) already adopted an opinion on 23 February, expressing its support for the NEB and the ways it aims at linking current EU initiatives to new actions, and affirming a strong wish to get actively involved in the movement’s implementation, so as to encourage finding solutions to citizens’ daily problems and improve their quality of life. Furthermore, the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) issued a draft opinion (to be adopted in Plenary in April) to which Europa Nostra has provided extensive input. The draft opinion specifically refers to the Venice Call to Action: “For a New European Renaissance” and the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper: “Putting Europe’s shared heritage at the heart of the European Green Deal”, both (co-)produced by Europa Nostra, and highlights: “Cultural heritage is a vital dimension of the NEB; the Renovation Wave must have a soul and an identity, while promoting a holistic view of how we want to develop our cities and regions”.

Alexandra Mitsosaki further emphasised the innovative spirit of the New European Bauhaus movement, the core ideals of which ought to inspire all policies and programmes of the EU to operate a change in citizens’ mindsets. To achieve this, she and other members of the Taskforce highlighted the need to engage more policy-makers from different sectors and at all levels of governance.

 

Members continued their discussion on the Festival of the New European Bauhaus to take place on 9-12 June in Brussels and across Europe, regarding their possible contribution and the role it can play in making people more aware of the initiative.

Overall, Europa Nostra’s New European Bauhaus Taskforce reiterated the need for a more present discourse on culture and heritage within the NEB movement and the importance it carries when it comes to fostering peace and dialogue. As Vadim Kononenko, foresight and Policy Expert at the European Environment Agency, said: “Maybe the New European Bauhaus is somewhat utopian, but this is what we need now. We need to dream about the future.”

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