European Policy Debate in Paris addresses key and pressing issues related to cultural heritage

One of the highlights of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2019 in Paris was the European Policy Debate “Cultural Heritage at the Heart of the Revival of the European Project”, organised as a co-production of Europa Nostra, the Collège des Bernardins and its research centre on Europe, in partnership with the Fondation du Patrimoine and with the support of the EU’s Creative Europe programme.

Policy Debate 30/10/2019 Collège des Bernardins

The European Policy Debate was held at the inspiring historic setting of the Collège des Bernardins on 30 October and was the closing event of the five-day Paris Summit. It brought together key European stakeholders and decision-makers to discuss the future of Europe and the role that cultural heritage can play in reviving the European project. The debate took place at a timely moment at the very start of the European Parliament’s new term and shortly before the start of the new European Commission. The exchanges provided useful insights on the role of cultural heritage for tackling some of the most pressing challenges which Europe and its citizens are facing, and reaffirmed the significance of shared heritage assets for the future of the European project.

Among the more than 30 high-level speakers that contributed to the Debate were top representatives of EU institutions, French and European policy-makers active at local, regional and national level, representatives of public heritage institutions and private foundations as well as artistic and cultural and heritage operators. The Debate was attended by around 200 participants from all across Europe and beyond, who, as they entered the building, crossed path with a screen displaying videos about the Food is Culture project raising awareness of endangered food heritage.

Through five different panels, the speakers and the audience addressed different well-timed topics, providing inspiring ideas and potential solutions, highlighting major challenges and sharing good practices. The five panels covered the following subjects:

1. The need for a stronger and renewed political commitment by incoming EU institutions to keep cultural heritage on the top of the European Union’s agenda and at the heart of the necessary revival of the European Project.

Policy Debate 30/10/2019 Collège des Bernardins

High-profile political representatives contributed to this opening session, including the President of the European Parliament David Maria Sassoli (video-message) (read the full speech here), the President of the European Economic and Social Committee Luca Jahier (Read the full speech here), the Adviser for cultural heritage at the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission Catherine Magnant (speaking on behalf of Themis Christophidou, EC Director General for Education and Culture) (Read the full speech here) , the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank Ambroise Fayolle, and the Regional Councilor of Ile-de-France Aurélie Gros. The panel was moderated by Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa. Written messages of support by the new Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić (read the full letter here), the Finish Minister of Science and Culture Hanna Kosonen (read the full letter here), acting Chair of the EU Council of Ministers and the Croatian Minister of Culture Nina Obuljen Koržinek who will be chairing the EU Council of Ministers during the first semester of 2020, were also conveyed (read the full letter here). Watch the video of the panel:

2. The role that cultural heritage can play in the formation of the so-called “European way of life”, a term coined by the President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, which also became the name of the portfolio of one of her newly designated Vice-Presidents.

Policy Debate 30/10/2019 Collège des Bernardins

The invited speakers provided their different perspectives on the topic, including André Wilkens, Director of the European Cultural Foundation, Lydia Carras (read the full speech here), President of Elliniki Etairia (Europa Nostra’s country representation in Greece), Sébastien Maillard, Director of the Jacques Delors Institute and Androulla Vassiliou, Vice-President of Europa Nostra (read the full speech here). The panel also benefited from the inputs and reactions by Philippe Barbat, Director General for Heritage at the French Ministry of Culture, Gijs de Vries from the London School of Economics and Political Science and Laurence Farreng, MEP, member of the Culture and Education Committee of the European Parliament. The panel was moderated by Antoine Arjakovsky (read the full speech here), Director of the research centre on Europe of the Collège des Bernardins. Watch the video of the panel:

3. The threats to cultural heritage caused by climate change and the need for an ambitious global action plan to address these risks.

Policy Debate 30/10/2019 Collège des Bernardins

This panel was introduced by a keynote speech by Andrew Potts, President of the Climate Change and Heritage Working Group of ICOMOS, followed by reactions by two Europa Nostra Board members, namely Graham Bell, Director of Cultura Trust from UK and Paolo Vitti, expert from the University of Rome, as well as Justin Albert from the UK National Trust (one of the founding member organisations of Europa Nostra) also representing the International National Trust Organisation (INTO). The lively discussions were moderated by Erminia Sciacchitano, Policy Officer at the European Commission (DG EAC). Watch the video of the panel:

4. The need to boost innovating financing for the benefit of endangered heritage

Policy Debate 30/10/2019 Collège des Bernardins

The panel benefited from the expertise of the European Investment Bank Institute and several private foundations active in the field of cultural heritage. The keynote speech was made by Célia Vérot, Director General of the Fondation du Patrimoine, followed by inputs from Valéry Freland, Executive Director of ALIPH – International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas, Miguel Magalhães, Director of the Paris Office of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Francisco de Paula Coelho, Dean of the EIB Institute. The debate was moderated by Alexandre Giuglaris, responsible for Public and Institutional Affairs at the Fondation du Patrimoine. Watch the video of the panel:

5. An outlook to the future: launch of the Paris Manifesto ‘Relançons l’Europe par la culture et le patrimoine culturel !’

Policy Debate 30/10/2019 Collège des Bernardins

During the closing panel, the moderator of the session and co-host of the Policy Debate Bertrand de Feydeau, in his capacity as Vice-president of Europa Nostra, Vice-President of the Fondation du Patrimoine and President of the Fondation des Bernardins, presented the draft text of the ‘Paris Manifesto: Relançons l’Europe par la culture et le patrimoine culturel !’, which encapsulates the key policy conclusion of the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Paris. This Manifesto conveys a strong message on the significant contribution and strategic role of cultural heritage for the revival of the European project.

During the session, the invited speakers reacted to the Paris Manifesto from their very own perspective and the one of their respective organisations. The panel was composed by Uwe Koch, Director of the German Cultural Heritage Committee (DNK) who was one of the co-hosts of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2018 held in Berlin, François de Mazières, Mayor of Versailles, János Ádám Karácsony, Member of the European Committee of the Regions, Jorge Chaminé, Founder and President of the Centre Européen de Musique in Bougival and Lorena Aldana, Responsible for European Affairs at Europa Nostra. Amélie de Montchalin, French Secretary of State for European Affairs (Read full speech here) and Franck Riester, French Minister of Culture closed the European Policy Debate and the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Paris on a high note with their inspiring and engaging interventions on behalf of the French government. Watch the video of the panel:

Next steps

The contributions, conclusions and outcomes of the European Policy Debate held in Paris will feed into the programme of the next European Cultural Heritage Summit to be organised by Europa Nostra, with the support of the European Commission, in Brussels on 19-23 June 2020. As stated in the ‘Paris Manifesto’, a series of concrete proposals for action shall be prepared and submitted to the EU Institutions, Member States and civil society on the occasion of the next year’s Summit.

More information

Read all the news items on the European Policy Debate:

Opening Session: ‘Cultural Heritage at the heart of the revival of the European project’
Session II: ‘What role does cultural heritage play in the formation of a European way of life and how can it be promoted today?’
Session III: ‘Towards an ambitious European and global action plan to address climate change-related risks for cultural heritage’
Session IV: ‘Which innovative financing sources for Endangered Heritage in Europe?’
Closing Session: ‘European Policy Debate – From the Berlin to the Paris Summit and beyond: Relancer l’Europe par la culture et le patrimoine culturel !’

Please download the Programme booklet of the European Policy Debate (in English and French). The programme booklet only exists in electronic version. Every unprinted booklet helps the environment.

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