Reflection group on EU and heritage met in Luxembourg

The Reflection Group “EU and Cultural Heritage” composed of representatives of Heritage Departments of a number of EU Member States met on 23-25 September in Luxembourg to discuss developments regarding heritage taking place in Europe. Among the main issues on the agenda was the adoption of a concept paper on the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018*. This Concept Paper revolves around the central notion of ‘Sharing Heritage’, builds on the idea that our shared heritage is always both local and European and seeks to develop new opportunities to preserve cultural heritage recalling the essential, unique, irreplaceable character of heritage and its strong social and economic potential.

Photo: Courtesy of Ministry of Culture of Luxembourg

Photo: Courtesy of Ministry of Culture of Luxembourg

Europa Nostra’s Vice-President Piet Jaspaert attended this meeting representing also the European Heritage Alliance 3.3. alongside the Minister of Culture of Luxembourg, Maggy Nagel, representing the position of the Presidency of the European Union, and the representative of the European Commission (DG EAC), Erminia Sciacchitano. Piet Jaspaert welcomed the position paper as “an important and timely commitment to heritage in Europe” underlining “the key role of civil society in the organisation of a successful European Year dedicated to cultural heritage”.

This meeting also provided an excellent opportunity to discuss the latest developments related to heritage in Europe, including the need to implement the integrated approach across the EU institutions, national ministries and local/regional governments as well as the importance of continuing to collect data (and this way to improve cultural statistics) to promote evidence-based policy making. This meeting contributed to strengthening the dialogue between governmental and non-governmental and civil society organisations.

* The concept paper ‘Sharing Heritage’ was adopted on 24 September by the Members of the Reflection Group: Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. The other Members involved in the open working group “ECHY 2018” were Estonia, Austria, Portugal, Slovakia. Moreover, ENCATC, Europa Nostra, NEMO, EC of Spatial Planners, Europae Archaeologiae Consilium and German Cultural Heritage Committee had a special observer status. Representatives of the EC DG Education and Culture were also consulted in this process.

Background
The Reflection Group was set up as a follow-up of the Bruges Conference organised in December 2010 by the Belgian Presidency of the EU. It is an informal group composed of representatives of the Culture ministries of a selection of Member States, with some heritage NGOs (such as Europa Nostra) as observers. This Reflection Group shares the same goal as the European Heritage Alliance 3.3, namely: to contribute to the gradual development of an integrated approach by the EU to cultural heritage through adequate and coordinated EU policy and funding programmes and measures.

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