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Jewish communities in the European Union

23-01-2020

The Jewish population in the EU has been diminishing in recent decades, and has witnessed an increase in acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish violence in recent years. In defence of its values, including respect for minorities, the EU undertakes and funds actions to counter anti-Semitism. This is a further updated version of an 'at a glance' note published in January 2019.

The Jewish population in the EU has been diminishing in recent decades, and has witnessed an increase in acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish violence in recent years. In defence of its values, including respect for minorities, the EU undertakes and funds actions to counter anti-Semitism. This is a further updated version of an 'at a glance' note published in January 2019.

Roma and Sinti Holocaust

23-01-2020

On 27 January 1945, the Red Army liberated the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. Held on this date since 2002, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a solemn occasion to commemorate the Jewish, Roma and Sinti victims of Nazi terror. The Roma and Sinti Holocaust is still largely unknown to the public.

On 27 January 1945, the Red Army liberated the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. Held on this date since 2002, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a solemn occasion to commemorate the Jewish, Roma and Sinti victims of Nazi terror. The Roma and Sinti Holocaust is still largely unknown to the public.

The European Union and Holocaust remembrance

23-01-2020

The term Holocaust refers to the mass murder of 6 million European Jews, Roma and other persecuted groups, whom the Nazi regime and its collaborators sought to annihilate. The expropriation, state-sponsored discrimination and persecution of the Jews by the Nazi regime began in 1933, followed by pogroms and their mass incarceration in concentration camps. Ultimately, this policy was extended to all Nazi-controlled European territories and countries during World War II, culminating in mass summary ...

The term Holocaust refers to the mass murder of 6 million European Jews, Roma and other persecuted groups, whom the Nazi regime and its collaborators sought to annihilate. The expropriation, state-sponsored discrimination and persecution of the Jews by the Nazi regime began in 1933, followed by pogroms and their mass incarceration in concentration camps. Ultimately, this policy was extended to all Nazi-controlled European territories and countries during World War II, culminating in mass summary executions ('Holocaust by Bullets') and extermination in death camps. The perpetrators were prosecuted at the Nuremberg trials in 1945-1946; however, the tribunal preferred to indict them on charges of crimes against humanity rather than genocide. It was not until 2005, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz that a United Nations resolution designated 27 January the day for international commemoration of the Holocaust, to be known as 'International Holocaust Remembrance Day'. In the European Union, numerous programmes seek to preserve the memory of these tragic events in the history of the continent. Since 1995, the European Parliament has adopted resolutions drawing attention to the obligation to remember not only through commemorations but also through education. In November 2018, the EU became a permanent international partner of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). This is a further updated version of a briefing from January 2018.

International Year of Indigenous Languages – Sami people and languages in the EU

08-01-2020

Indigenous languages are the essence of indigenous peoples' culture and traditions. They constitute the majority of the almost 7 000 languages spoken all over the world, yet, tragically, almost half of them are threatened with extinction. The loss of an indigenous language results in the loss of culture, tradition and ancestral knowledge, mainly botanical, gathered throughout the ages by those who speak it, resulting also in the loss of biodiversity. In light of this, the UN General Assembly declared ...

Indigenous languages are the essence of indigenous peoples' culture and traditions. They constitute the majority of the almost 7 000 languages spoken all over the world, yet, tragically, almost half of them are threatened with extinction. The loss of an indigenous language results in the loss of culture, tradition and ancestral knowledge, mainly botanical, gathered throughout the ages by those who speak it, resulting also in the loss of biodiversity. In light of this, the UN General Assembly declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Access to cultural life for people with disabilities

02-12-2019

Despite the additional barriers they face, artists with disabilities make a creative contribution to cultural life. People with disabilities should also have equal access to works of art and be able to enjoy cultural life on a par with all citizens. The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities entered into force in 2011. It enshrined, among other rights, the right of people with disabilities to access cultural venues such as theatres, cinemas and museums, and to enjoy ...

Despite the additional barriers they face, artists with disabilities make a creative contribution to cultural life. People with disabilities should also have equal access to works of art and be able to enjoy cultural life on a par with all citizens. The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities entered into force in 2011. It enshrined, among other rights, the right of people with disabilities to access cultural venues such as theatres, cinemas and museums, and to enjoy cultural materials, books, films and music in an accessible format. It also highlighted the right of people with disabilities to participate in cultural life as both amateur and professional artists. The European Union, party to the Convention, is committed to working on legislation, and implementing and promoting programmes and actions in favour of these rights. The EU disability strategy is a step in this direction. It also covers the cultural rights of 80 million people with disabilities in the EU. According to a public consultation on disability issues carried out in accordance with the recommendations of experts from the Member States working on access to culture, such access is an important area that the EU should address. Various EU funds contribute financially to research and innovation, cultural and infrastructure projects, and programmes promoting the right to cultural life of people with disabilities within this framework. In October 2018, the EU also ratified the Marrakesh Treaty, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, to facilitate access to published works for people who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled. The EU effectively became a party to the treaty as of 1 January 2019, committing to set mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired, and otherwise print disabled. The European Parliament and its Disability Intergroup, established in 1980, promote the rights, including the cultural rights, of people with disabilities.

European Capitals of Culture: In search of the perfect cultural event

28-11-2019

Between 1985 and 2019, 60 cities have held the title of European Capital of Culture – most recently Matera in Italy and Plovdiv in Bulgaria in 2019. Initiated in 1983, by Greece's then Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, the concept took shape two years later as an inter-governmental initiative under the name of the 'European City of Culture'. The success of the event was such that in 1999, the Council of the EU transformed it into a Community action, and created a more transparent rotational system ...

Between 1985 and 2019, 60 cities have held the title of European Capital of Culture – most recently Matera in Italy and Plovdiv in Bulgaria in 2019. Initiated in 1983, by Greece's then Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, the concept took shape two years later as an inter-governmental initiative under the name of the 'European City of Culture'. The success of the event was such that in 1999, the Council of the EU transformed it into a Community action, and created a more transparent rotational system for the designation of the titleholder. The selection procedure – last modified in 2014 – places particular focus on the monitoring of proposals, the enhanced European dimension of projects, improved competition between candidate cities, and the redefinition of the selection panel role. As more and more cities enter the European Capitals of Culture race, substantial sums of money are being spent, including on the bidding process. While in the early years of the programme (1985 1994) the average operating budget was around €25 million per city, this amount has more than doubled to reach some €60 million per city for the period 2007-2017. With rising budgets, there is also increased scrutiny of cities, national governments and the EU, as to the wider benefits in terms of the cultural development, social cohesion and city image that most bids promise. This, in turn, has led to more frequent and sophisticated monitoring and evaluation of the whole process, both by the European Commission and by the host cities themselves. The symbolic celebration of European cultural identities is however closely tied to the economic success of the operation. According to experts, over time a number of conflicts and tensions have become apparent due to the multiple and sometimes contradictory objectives of the event, e.g. economic and cultural, to name just two. Additional criticism includes failure to enable local ownership, difficulty in overcoming social divides and exhaustion of local resources. Notwithstanding that, ex-post evaluations of the event show that in general it boosts economic growth and tourism, helps build a sense of community and contributes to urban regeneration.

Solvay Library to become the 'Library of Europe'

26-11-2019

Thanks to the European Parliament, the old Solvay Library will soon once again fulfil its original purpose as a European cultural centre. Founded by Belgian industrialist Ernest Solvay, the library of the Brussels Institute of Sociology made its mark through the originality of its architecture and functional layout. Designed in 1902 as a working laboratory for research in the then emerging field of social sciences, it soon became the hub of an international documentation network, using a pioneering ...

Thanks to the European Parliament, the old Solvay Library will soon once again fulfil its original purpose as a European cultural centre. Founded by Belgian industrialist Ernest Solvay, the library of the Brussels Institute of Sociology made its mark through the originality of its architecture and functional layout. Designed in 1902 as a working laboratory for research in the then emerging field of social sciences, it soon became the hub of an international documentation network, using a pioneering system for the classification of books and periodicals. The library, a listed building that has been fully restored to its original condition, will soon open its doors to the public and thus fulfil its original destiny, under an agreement between the European Parliament and the Belgian authorities.

Creative Europe programme 2021-2027

26-11-2019

Having considered the possibility of merging the Creative Europe programme with other programmes supporting European values, rights and justice, the European Commission has decided to continue the Creative Europe programme as a stand-alone programme, increasing its budget by 17 %. The only programme focusing exclusively on cultural and creative activities and enterprises, it falls under the 'Cohesion and values' heading of the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework. The existing programme focuses ...

Having considered the possibility of merging the Creative Europe programme with other programmes supporting European values, rights and justice, the European Commission has decided to continue the Creative Europe programme as a stand-alone programme, increasing its budget by 17 %. The only programme focusing exclusively on cultural and creative activities and enterprises, it falls under the 'Cohesion and values' heading of the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework. The existing programme focuses on the economic dimension of the cultural sector and its contribution to job creation and economic growth. Some stakeholders have voiced concern at taking such a strongly economic approach to culture. Under proposed programme, the economic dimension is one axis alongside the social dimension, and culture's contribution to international relations. The proposed framework for cultural policy therefore highlights not only the economic dimension of the cultural and creative sectors, but also the role of culture in social cohesion and its relation to creative and artistic freedom and diversity, and freedom and plurality of media. Both Parliament and Council have agreed positions on the proposal, and trilogue negotiations started in autumn 2019 with a view to finding agreement before Council’s first reading. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Cultural heritage in EU discourse and in the Horizon 2020 programme

22-11-2019

The EU recognises its Member States' collective cultural heritage both as a European legacy and as a contributor to EU growth and development. That is why, the Horizon 2020 programme was singled out as one of the 'new generation of EU instruments' to safeguard and enhance the EU's cultural heritage. Between 2014 and early 2019, €495 million was invested in Horizon 2020 research actions related to the EU's cultural heritage to achieve this goal, and experts recognise programme’s achievements. The ...

The EU recognises its Member States' collective cultural heritage both as a European legacy and as a contributor to EU growth and development. That is why, the Horizon 2020 programme was singled out as one of the 'new generation of EU instruments' to safeguard and enhance the EU's cultural heritage. Between 2014 and early 2019, €495 million was invested in Horizon 2020 research actions related to the EU's cultural heritage to achieve this goal, and experts recognise programme’s achievements. The new 2021-2027 Horizon Europe programme should continue and enhance its support as well as contribute to keeping the legacy of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage.

Commitments made at the hearing of Margaritis SCHINAS, Vice-President-designate - Promoting the European Way of Life

22-11-2019

The Vice President-designate, Margaritis Schinas, appeared before the European Parliament on 03 October 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committees on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Culture and Education, Employment and Social Affairs. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission ...

The Vice President-designate, Margaritis Schinas, appeared before the European Parliament on 03 October 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committees on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Culture and Education, Employment and Social Affairs. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - Skills, education and integration; - Finding common ground on migration; and - Security Union.

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