President of Europa Nostra interviewed by Greece’s leading daily newspaper

The premier Greek daily newspaper TA NEA published an exclusive and extended interview with the President of Europa Nostra in its weekend edition of 21-23 June, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary Congress of the organisation in Athens. Entitled ‘Take care of your heritage like the apple of your eye’, the four-page article makes the front page and opens the cultural supplement of the leading newspaper in Greece.

‘The 7 Most Endangered’ programme and the first list of the seven most threatened monuments and sites in Europe; the urgent need to protect and raise awareness about cultural heritage in today’s times of economic crisis and political uncertainty; and the crucial role of cultural heritage as a source of lasting growth and social cohesion in Europe are the main topics discussed. Particular focus is given to Greece. Plácido Domingo also mentions the “great responsibility and formidable challenge” of being President of Europa Nostra and stresses how essential it is to build “a constructive dialogue between political leaders and civil society organisations”.

“Concerning ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ programme, the main criteria for inclusion on the list are the European significance of an endangered site and the degree of danger which this site is facing – not the state of the economy of a given European country. Moreover, being listed as one of ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ does not entail automatic European funding. Rather, it carries the promise of support and assistance to find the right solution with combined local, regional, national and European efforts”.

“Greece is facing a very serious situation, but – especially in Greece – cultural heritage can play a key part in achieving renewal and sustainable growth. Europa Nostra was informed that the Greek government is currently preparing plans to boost extended tourist home development by changing zoning regulations, especially on the islands. We therefore appealed to the Greek Government and the Greek people not to support this type of unwise policy pursued in the past in my country Spain and many other Mediterranean countries. Such policies are short-sighted and will not provide the long-term solutions based on quality and sustainability that Greece needs. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner responsible for Culture, agrees with Europa Nostra’s viewpoint, based on her own experience in Cyprus”.

“What we need above all is to start a new cycle of positive and constructive thinking based on fundamental European values. The Spaniards and the Greeks, but also the Germans and the French have to re-invent themselves. I strongly believe that culture is critical in that. Economic and political issues may dominate the agenda, but if you look underneath, there is our shared culture – in all its diversity – which beats at the heart of the European Union and the entire process of European integration. Both the United Nations and the European Union are now increasingly underlining the vital importance of culture for the sustainable development of our world. This gives us hope and encouragement!”

“Civil society organisations, such as Europa Nostra, can raise awareness, serve as a catalyst for action, promote the power of positive example, engage citizens and communities and remind Europe about the opportunities and possibilities cultural heritage has to offer. Today we really need political leaders who understand that a constructive dialogue with civil society organisations is essential to make the decisions needed to help our society to blossom and our economy to grow”.

These are some of the key points made by the President of Europa Nostra in his interview to Greece’s principal daily newspaper TA NEA. You can read the complete original interview in English and the printed version in Greek.

The 50th Anniversary Congress of Europa Nostra in Athens received extremely broad media coverage. Articles and interviews on the European Heritage Awards Ceremony, the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards and ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ programme were published by the principal Greek printed and online media, such as the daily newspapers Kathimerini and TA NEA, the weekly newspaper Ependitis and the bimonthly magazine CSR Review. On this occasion, Europa Nostra was also news in many media outlets from various European countries and even Euronews posted online a news item entitled Europe celebrates its cultural heritage in a time of crisis, on 17 June.

Latest articles about Partnerships

Destination of Sustainable Cultural Tourism Awards 2024: Apply by 1 June

Winners of the Costa Carras European Citizens Awards for the Safeguard of Endangered Heritage 2024 announced

Europa Nostra and its partners launch Ode2Joy Challenge, calling for reinterpretations of the iconic European anthem

More Articles +