Four priorities for culture – Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU

On 1 July, Austria took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the second half of 2018. This is the third time that Austria assumes the Presidency, the first being in 1998 and the second in 2006. The motto of this Presidency is “A Europe that protects”. Ministers have presented the priorities of the Austrian Presidency in different policy areas this week to Members of the European Parliament. This Presidency – like the preceding Bulgarian one – is of particular interest to the cultural heritage stakeholders because it coincides with the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and will play a key role in shaping the political legacy of the Year.

Speaking to MEPs of the Culture and Education Committee, the Austrian Minister for Culture, Gernot Blümel presented the four priorities of the Austrian Presidency in the field of culture:

  1. The digital area – Council conclusions on the opportunities and challenges in the cultural, media and creative sectors in the digital age are foreseen
  2. Negotiations for the new EU Creative Europe programme covering the period 2021-27
  3. Revision of the European Agenda for Culture of 2007 and the adoption of the new Work Plan for Culture as of 2019
  4. European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and beyond.

He particularly stressed his appreciation of the European Commission’s proposal for a stand-alone Creative Europe programme, but added that the final outcome depended on the negotiations for the EU’s 2021-27 budget. Regarding cultural heritage, Minister Blümel confirmed this was “a very important issue” for the Austrian Presidency. In response to a question from a member of the European Parliament, Minister Blümel stressed that “cultural heritage encourages tourism”, but that a proper strategy was needed both to protect cultural heritage and to promote tourism in the right way. Last but not least, he drew attention to the #EuropeForCulture – Closing Conference of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 that will take place on 6-7 December 2018 in Vienna and also highlighted the cultural programme of the Presidency. He also drew attention to a special event marking the kickoff of the Presidency, where an acoustic display of Austria’s intangible cultural heritage including tunes from Austrian composers and musicians – from the classical repertoire to Falko – were played in the Brussels metro.

Additional information:

A selection of events related to cultural heritage and culture (source: Presidency events calendar):

1-2 October 2018 (Vienna): 17th European Tourism Forum

4 October 2018 (Vienna): European Creative Industries Summit (ECIS) 2018

8-9 October 2018 (Vienna): Challenging (the) Content – Europe’s cultural, media and creative industries and the digital world

5-9 November 2018 (Vienna): 3rd European Vocational Skills Week #DiscoverYourTalent or #EUVocationalSkills

14-15 November 2018 (Vienna): 7th European Congress on the Use, Management and Conservation of Buildings of Historical Value

26-27 November 2018 (Brussels): Meeting of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council

6-7 December 2018 (Vienna): #EuropeForCulture – Closing Conference of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018

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