Scarce public budgets, environmental and physical pressure, trafficking and digital shift are challenges that European cultural heritage faces today and they should be addressed by coordinated programmes, exchange of best practices and EU fundded projects, CULT Committee underlines in the resolution passed on Tuesday morning to support the designation of 2018 as European Year of Cultural Heritage.

"EYCH 2018 is, first of all, an initiative designed to remind us, Europeans, of our shared history; it is, if you will, a plead for unity. It is not the EURO, nor Schengen, nor even EU funds that bind the European Union together. All these measures flow from our shared culture which is able to transcend economic and geographical barriers. Thus protecting and promoting cultural European heritage is essential to the very survival of our Union... and of course to our survival as a civilisation and not just as a community of consumers” said the rapporteur Mircea Diaconu (ALDE, RO).


Easier access and a sustainable use of cultural heritage

 

Actions and projects developed during the European Year of Cultural Heritage should contribute to raise awareness and to boost education on the role of our cultural heritage. They should facilitate access for a wider public to these shared resources and should encourage local communities’ involvement in the safeguard, conservation and a sustainable use of its cultural heritage.


Members of the Culture Committee underline the contribution of the cultural heritage to the economic growth, social cohesion and development of local communities, especially by putting in place cultural tourism projects, by using traditional art crafting to create long term employment or by supporting small and medium enterprises that use specific competences and traditions.


Active participation of European institutions and professional organisations

 

For a proper implementation of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, CULT Committee insist on a good coordination of all activities by a working group created at European level by the Commission and that involves the European Parliament, the competent national authorities and all other relevant stakeholders. It should allow and encourage an active participation of professional organisations and existing networks in the field of cultural heritage, as well as any interested NGOs and cultural associations.


The European Year of Cultural Heritage needs a proper budget


European Parliament ask the Commission to ensure a specific budget line of 15 million euros for the preparation of the European Year, its implementation and actions contributing to the Year’s long-term sustainability. These amounts should be available from 2017 (preparation actions) to 2019. A co-financing from national, regional and local grants in the Member States and through flexible funding mechanisms such as public-private partnerships or crowdfunding should be also foreseen.

 

Next steps

 

The Council should present its position on 24 November 2016. If further negotiations are needed between the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission, they should be finished and a decision adopted by the end of the year.