European Commission publishes proposal for the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018

In time for the political rentrée in September, the European Commission has today published its long-awaited proposal for the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. After the initial announcement by EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsics in April 2016, the Commission’s detailed proposal now sets the framework in which the European Year will take place. It sends a strong signal to both citizens and policy-makers that cultural heritage matters for Europe and is at the heart of what connects peoples, cities, regions and countries in Europe.

Photo: Banner for the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

Photo: Banner for the European Year of Cultural Heritage.

The European Year as proposed by the European Commission will help promoting how cultural heritage contributes to cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, to the economy and society and promote it as a key element of EU’s international dimension. The Commission proposes to implement the year by using existing EU programmes under which cultural heritage is eligible for funding, ranging from Creative Europe to Horizon 2020 but also specific actions such as the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage, which is organised by Europa Nostra. Given the importance of this Year also beyond the heritage world, Europa Nostra hopes that the EU institutions will find a way of finding adequate funding for the Year. Besides mentioning Europa Nostra as one of the key stakeholders consulted in the process, the proposal also explicitly refers to one of Europa Nostra’s recent flagship projects, ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’, which was funded by the EU Culture Programme, as a source of existing expertise.

Europa Nostra’s President Plácido Domingo welcomed the proposal and called on civil society: “The European Year of Cultural Heritage should be a year of discovery for the peoples of Europe: learning about our common cultural heritage, how it connects us across the continent. It is an open invitation to dive into history, enjoy outstanding heritage sites and share one’s passion for their beauty with people from all over Europe and beyond. Let this not be just a title – let us all work together to make this year the spark that initiates a Renaissance of Europe. Europa Nostra will give cultural heritage a voice during this year – a voice to inform, to teach, to help discovering, to exchanges ideas and – above all – to enjoy our common heritage together!”

Europa Nostra as pan-European federation of heritage NGOs is actively preparing for the European Year by mobilising its wide network. In November, its Council and Board will convene to decide on an ambitious Action Plan for 2017-2019 to ensure civil society will contribute to the fullest to the year. Likewise, Europa Nostra’s leadership is working towards making its 2018 annual congress one of the highlights of the year: a European Heritage Summit in Berlin.

“Europa Nostra stands ready to actively and creatively support the preparation of the Year now. We are working with our members and members of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3., our partners and supporters from across Europe together to make the European Year of Cultural Heritage a memorable one for citizens in Europe and beyond. Civil society should be at the heart of shaping this Year. It should not have an end – on the contrary, it should be the start of something more, more Europe and more passion for cultural heritage!” stressed Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary-General of Europa Nostra.

The Commission’s proposal to make 2018 the European Year of Cultural Heritage follows a series of important policy developments at European level, such as the Council conclusions of May 2014 on cultural heritage as a strategic resource for a sustainable Europe, the Commission’s 2014 communication Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe and the European Parliament’s respective resolution of September 2015.

However, it is the result of joint efforts both from the European institutions, national policy-makers and civil society organisations that the European Year of Cultural Heritage will take place in 2018 – and its success will also depend on joint efforts as European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics also highlighted: “Our cultural heritage is more than the memory of our past; it is the key to our future. A European Year of Cultural Heritage will be an opportunity to raise awareness of the social and economic importance of cultural heritage and to promote European excellence in the sector. I call on the European Parliament and Council to support our proposal and invite all stakeholders to help make this Year a success.”

Europa Nostra calls on all its members, laureates and supporters to join forces for the European Year of Cultural Heritage. We are now gathering input and ideas from across our network for greater synergies and cooperation. Are you planning events or projects for 2018 or in the run-up to it? Share your plans, ideas and suggestions with us! Let us know by sending an email to our Brussels office:

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