Brussels, 20 December 2016 – The European Heritage Alliance 3.3 is calling on 28 EU Heads of State or Government to ensure that the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 is supported with adequate financial resources at all levels of governance: from European to national, regional and local.
As part of a joint advocacy campaign, 37 heritage-related European and international networks which form part of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 (Alliance), have signed and sent today a joint letter to the leaders of EU Member States with a forceful message: “Given the huge value of cultural heritage and its proven positive impact on Europe’s economy – creating jobs and growth, as well as on Europe’s society, culture and environment, it is fully justified to allocate a significant budget to the implementation of this historic European initiative.”
Members of the Alliance added that “At a time when EU Member States and Institutions are confronted with an unprecedented political, economic, social, environmental and cultural crisis, (…) the European Year of Cultural Heritage provides us all with a unique opportunity to convey a positive and cohesive message to Europe’s citizens”.
They stressed that “Promoting the understanding and enjoyment of our shared heritage and history and sharing this heritage with other cultures of the world have significant added value. Not only can we boost the much-needed awareness and sense of belonging to a wider community within and across Europe but we can also make use of heritage as a catalyst to build bridges and foster dialogue between cultures across the globe.”
The European Heritage Alliance also referred to the events which will take place on 25 March 2017 in Rome when EU Heads of State or Government will meet to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. “We call on you all to seize the opportunity of this historic gathering to publicly recognise that the entire European project has a wider cultural meaning and significance derived from our shared cultural patrimony, both tangible and intangible” the letter advocates. It also adds that “We should preserve and celebrate our rich heritage as much as we should understand and promote the shared cultural values that are interwoven in this heritage and define who we are as a wider community of Europeans”.
Members of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 confirmed their readiness to cooperate closely with EU Institutions and Member States “with the aim of giving our cultural resources and related capital a much stronger recognition and a much more central place within the future agendas of the European Union”. To start with, each member of the Alliance will mobilise their respective our members and partners across Europe to contribute to the success of the European Year of Cultural Heritage “in a creative and dynamic way”.
The EC proposal for the European Year of Cultural Heritage was published on 30 August 2016 and the EU Council of Ministers adopted its general approach on this proposal at the last meeting of the Council on 22 November 2016. Following the current procedure of “trialogue” between the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission, the final decision on the Year with the probable allocation of a dedicated EU budget is expected to be adopted during the Maltese Presidency of the EU, during the first trimester of the Year.
For the letters to 28 EU Heads of State or Government, see below: