European Heritage Alliance 3.3 takes stock of European Year

10 months into the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH) 2018 it was high time for the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 to meet again and discuss key policy developments and assess areas for joint actions. 18 Alliance member networks joined the meeting on 8 October despite an extremely busy week with several key events organised in parallel, such as the European Week of Regions and Cities with side events by Alliance members, a meeting of the European Parliament intergroup on cultural heritage and a major conference organised by Future for Religious Heritage. The meeting was once again hosted by Alliance member European Travel Commission (ETC) at their Brussels office in close vicinity to the historic centre and UNESCO World Heritage site of Brussels’ Grand Place.

After an encouraging welcome from ETC’s Executive Director Eduardo Santander who summed up the joined efforts with “Heritage is in the eye of the hurricane”, Europa Nostra’s Vice-President Piet Jaspaert took over as the moderator and gave a brief overview of the milestones of the EYCH 2018 and set the tone for today’s discussion of the future beyond the Year.

Key policy developments in the cultural heritage field were the New Agenda for Culture proposed by the European Commission (May 2018) as well as its proposal for a future Creative Europe programme 2021-2027. Six Alliance members (European Historic Houses Association, Future for Religious Heritage, Architects’ Council of Europe, Eurocities, NEMO and Europa Nostra) had also recently participated in a stakeholders’ meeting upon invitation of the European Parliament’s rapporteur Silvia Costa MEP. Another important item on the agenda was the state of play of the dissemination of the Berlin Call to Action: “Cultural Heritage for the Future of Europe”, which had been presented at the European Cultural Heritage Summit on 22 June 2018 and to which the Alliance had also contributed.

The European Commission’s Task Force for the EYCH 2018 was represented by Erminia Sciacchitano and Catherine Magnant, who presented in particular upcoming events and initiatives, such as the “Cherishing Heritage” conference on quality standards for heritage interventions that will take place on 22-23 November in Venice, Italy. Several Alliance members will be among the speakers such as ICOMOS, Europa Nostra, E.C.C.O., ICOM and Interpret Europe, as well as Members of the European Parliament’s culture committee Silvia Costa and Mircea Diaconu. Shortly afterwards, the Closing Conference #EuropeForCulture will celebrate the achievements of the European Year on 6-7 December in Vienna. On this occasion, the European Commission is expected to present its EU Action Plan for Cultural Heritage, which was announced earlier this year.

As regards the legacy of the European Year, Alliance members agreed that civil society needs to be strengthened in the future governance for cultural heritage and that this could only be achieved through a pro-active structure, such as a platform for cultural heritage, rather than the current format of the EYCH Stakeholders’ Committee. Alliance members also exchanged about ways to promote and support the upcoming European elections in May 2019.

The meeting was also an occasion to exchange on joint projects and key contributions that the Alliance members made to documents and initiatives related to the European Year. Interpret Europe’s Patrick Lehnes briefly reported about the work of the structured dialogue between civil society organisations and the European Commission on “social inclusion and partnering with other sectors”, whose findings were soon to be published in a brainstorming report. Six Alliance members (ICOM, Europa Nostra, Eurocities, Interpret Europe, European Cultural Foundation, NEMO) had contributed to the work of this group.

Moderator Piet Jaspaert, now also in his capacity as Europa Nostra’s Vice-President, presented the final text of the Declaration “Better Places to Live, Better Places to Visit” to be adopted on 11 October, which is an example of the collaborative strength of the Alliance: initiated by the Network of European Regions for Sustainable and Competitive Tourism (NECSTouR) in cooperation with Europa Nostra, European Travel Commission (ETC) and European Cultural Tourism Network (ECTN) with the support of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3.

Last but not least, the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 welcomed the membership application from Mad’in Europe, the voice of craftsmanship founded in 2013, which joins as the 49th network.

The European Heritage Alliance 3.3 will formally meet again in early 2019. However, many Alliance members will also meet and exchange on the occasion of the last meeting of the EYCH Stakeholders’ Committee on 8 November in Leipzig and at the Year’s closing conference on 6-7 December in Vienna.


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