A voluntary European heritage label may from 2013 be granted to symbolic sites for Europe's history or integration, further to a decision taken by Parliament on Wednesday. Particular attention will go to "transnational" sites, given their special symbolism for Europe's common history.
Every two years from 2013, Member States will be able to propose up to two candidate sites, from which the jury of 13 independent experts will chose a maximum of one.
The label will guarantee the quality of selected sites such as monuments, natural, submerged, archaeological, industrial or urban sites, cultural landscapes, places of remembrance, cultural goods and objects or intangible heritage associated with a place. It may also be granted to contemporary heritage, for relevance to Europe's common history and heritage, rather than its architectural or aesthetic merits.
Particular attention will go to "transnational" sites, given their special symbolism for Europe's history. These sites must nonetheless meet the conditions for granting a label and designate a co-ordinating site to be sole interlocutor with the European Commission.
Member States may also apply for a "thematic" label for several national sites linked by a common theme.
Towards uniform heritage labels
The European heritage label scheme builds on an intergovernmental one of the same name, started in 2006. Sites that have been awarded labels since 2006 under the old scheme may apply for labels under the new one. Within six years of the new scheme's entry into effect, a decision should be taken on whether European third countries may also take part.
Managing, protecting and promoting the sites will remain the responsibility of Member States. The European Commission will run communication and awareness-raising work such as creating a specific internet site for the label and encouraging promotional activities that network labelled sites.
Procedure: Codecision (2nd reading)