Plácido Domingo: ‘Let us revive and reclaim the European Dream’
“Let us work together to give the entire process of European integration a ‘positive shock’ through the creative energy and inspirational power of our culture and heritage. We have a shared responsibility to make this happen: you, the leaders of the various EU institutions, and we, the protagonists from the cultural scene. Let us revive and reclaim the European dream. And let us continue to make this dream come true in our time and for those that will follow us!” This was the appeal made by Europa Nostra’s President Plácido Domingo at the end of the European heritage policy conference ‘Cultural Heritage for Europe, Europe for Cultural Heritage’ in Brussels on 5 December. The conference, which was organised by Europa Nostra in cooperation with Edificio at Bibliothèque Solvay, brought together eminent experts, decision-makers and top-level representatives from EU institutions and was attended by 180 people.
The President of Europa Nostra urged all EU Institutions to give a new boost to European Union action in favour of cultural heritage. “The EU needs an ambitious strategy for cultural heritage. Even with the existing competence and with the current policies and funding tools, the EU can do much more for cultural heritage, provided that all its institutions agree to integrate cultural heritage in all relevant EU policies. Why? Because cultural heritage counts for Europe!”
Plácido Domingo stressed that it is time for EU institutions to fully recognise that culture and cultural heritage are prime resources for Europe. “Our culture is much more than “a sector”. Culture is what makes us who we are, what gives meaning and beauty to our lives. Culture is what makes Europe – Europe! It is the dynamic, ever-changing product of centuries of interaction among various communities in Europe, beyond physical and mental frontiers and across time and generations. Our culture is therefore the true beating heart of our Europe.”
The President of Europa Nostra advocated that culture ought to become the main protagonist of the ‘New Narrative for Europe’. “As demonstrated by the initiative launched earlier this year by the European Parliament and led by President Barroso, the narrative for Europe cannot be reduced to the economy alone. We fully support the necessity of a new narrative which would speak to new generations and revive their “desire” for Europe while remaining faithful to the original spirit and idea that inspired the building of Europe. Investing in our culture and our cultural heritage therefore means investing in our human capital and in our future.”
Demonstrating the multiple values of heritage and outlining strategies for the future were the main objectives of this major policy conference. The morning session consisted of three panel discussions: ‘Contributing to a Sustainable Development’, ‘Engaging Communities’ and ‘The 7 Most Endangered: the way forward’. In addition, the project ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’, which is supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union, was publicly launched during this session.
In the afternoon, after the panel discussion ‘Heritage Movement without Borders’, several distinguished speakers participated in the concluding session, namely Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament (via a video specially recorded for the event), Romas Jarockis, Vice-Minister of Culture of Lithuania, Doris Pack, Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament, Jan Truszczyński, Director General for Education, Training, Culture and Youth of the DG Education and Culture of the European Commission, Anton Rombouts, Chair of the Committee of the Regions’ EDUC Commission, and Rémy Jacob, Dean of the European Investment Bank Institute. The President of Europa Nostra made the introductory speech, while Henri Malosse, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, and Denis de Kergorlay, Executive President of Europa Nostra, made the concluding remarks.
After the conference, Plácido Domingo attended a meeting with José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, at the Berlaymont building. Following the meeting, the President of Europa Nostra and President Barroso took part in the opening of the photo exhibition ‘Europe: Our Past, our Future’ about the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, hosted the event.
Special message by Martin Shulz
Special message by Plácido Domingo and Henri Malosse