THIS IS THE MOMENT FOR OUR EUROPE & FOR OUR HERITAGE

Message by Europa Nostra’s Executive President and Secretary General

(As an introduction to the Europa Nostra Newsletter dispatched on 3 July 2020)

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

It is our pleasure to send you this Summer edition of the Europa Nostra Newsletter, which brings together the highlights of our activities carried out during the last three months. The 1 of July marked the start of the German Presidency of the European Union, handed over by Croatia. In these times of crisis, we are confident that, under their slogan “Together for Europe’s recovery”, cultural heritage will be duly included among the EU’s key priorities and main contributors.

EU2020DE Brandenburg Gate

Later this month, EU leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss concrete proposals on the EU recovery plans in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Ahead of this important meeting, Europa Nostra, acting also on behalf of the European Heritage Alliance, has deployed an intense advocacy campaign urging EU leaders to put culture and cultural heritage where they belong: at the very heart of Europe’s recovery and revival. This campaign included addressing individual appeals to all Presidents of the EU Institutions, each of the 27 EU Heads of State or Government, as well as all the EU Ministers in charge of culture and the Member States’ Permanent Representatives to the EU in Brussels. With these letters, we have also conveyed to the EU leaders the compelling messages of the European Heritage Alliance ManifestoCultural Heritage: a powerful catalyst for the Future of Europe‘, which was launched on 9 May.

The European Heritage Alliance Manifesto puts forward 7 interconnected ways in which cultural heritage can be a positive catalyst for change and contribute to shape a better and more prosperous future for our continent. This Manifesto was launched and presented at the sold-out Europe Day Webinar, which the Europeana Foundation and Europa Nostra co-hosted on behalf of the European Heritage Alliance on Europe Day 2020 (9 May). High-level EU decision-makers with whom we have an excellent collaboration and understanding took active part in this Webinar and warmly welcomed our timely Manifesto, including Nina Obuljen-Koržinek, Croatian Minister of Culture and then Acting Chair of the EU Council of Ministers, Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth; Sabine Verheyen, Chair of the European Parliament Culture and Education Committee, and Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee.

The Manifesto is available in 13 languages and has been signed by over 700 prominent signatories and heritage supporters (full list here). In addition to the leaders of all member organisations of the European Heritage Alliance, among the notable signatories, we are proud to count with the valuable support of Stéphane Bern, French author and TV journalist; Enrico Letta, President of the Institut Jacques Delors and former Head of the Italian government; Anna Somers Cocks, founding Editor in Chief of the Art Newspaper; Jorge Chamine, President and Founder of the Centre Européen de Musique; PierLuigi Sacco, Head of the OECD Venice Office and Cultural Economics Professor at IULM University in Milan; Andrew Potts, Coordinator of ICOMOS Climate Change and Heritage Working Group; Andre Wilkens, Director of the European Cultural Foundation; Paul Dujardin, CEO and Artistic Director of BOZAR in Brussels; Gitte Zschoch, Director of EUNIC, just to name a few. If you haven’t done it yet, we encourage you to read, sign and share this important Manifesto.

At a time when Europe is struggling to overcome an unparalleled crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the cultural heritage world can and should contribute to Europe’s recovery and revival. Why? Because our cultural heritage is not only the foundation of our shared history and memory, but also a solid bridge between our past, our present and our future.

When presenting the ambitious EU recovery plan on 27 March, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: “This is Europe’s moment”. We would like to add: ‘This is our Cultural Heritage’s moment!’. Our cultural heritage is an essential component of the ‘European way of life’ and a shared richness that brings Europe’s inhabitants and communities closer together. With its multiple values for our society, economy and environment, cultural heritage contributes directly to all of the EU’s key priorities: from the European Green Deal with related climate action, to Europe’s digital transformation; and from the urgent need to design a more sustainable tourism industry to the investment in wellbeing and in the resilience of our democracy and society, among others.

We count on you to help us rally the support of all EU leaders (at all levels of Europe’s governance) to make sure that cultural heritage is fully recognised as a powerful catalyst and invaluable resource for the “green, digital and resilient Europe of the future”. Let us together continue to advocate for an ambitious “European Deal for Cultural Heritage”, to be incorporated across many EU policy areas and priorities, as a major cultural, social, economic and green contribution to the Next Generation of Our Europe. This is indeed the moment for Our Europe, and this is indeed the moment for Our Cultural Heritage.

We hope you will enjoy reading this Summer edition of the Europa Nostra Newsletter, where you will be able to peruse our latest updates on the work we have been carrying on so many fronts these past months. In these times of crisis, even while in lockdown, Europa Nostra continues to be as active as ever. And we are grateful to you, our readers and supporters, for your vital input and help in this challenging endeavour. Together, we are stronger. Together, we are better.

Cordially yours,
Hermann Parzinger, Executive President
Sneška Quaedvlieg Mihailović, Secretary General

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