Brussels, 9 March 2010
Culture: Commission proposes EU-wide European Heritage Label
The European Commission has today proposed to establish the 'European Heritage Label' as an EU-wide initiative. The aim of the Label is to highlight sites that celebrate and symbolize European integration, ideals and history. The proposed Decision to establish the Label will be submitted to the EU's Council of Ministers and the European Parliament for adoption and could come into effect in 2011 or 2012.
"I believe that the European Heritage Label will help to increase public awareness of our common yet diverse cultural heritage as well as to stimulate cultural tourism and intercultural dialogue," said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
The Commission's proposal builds on a 2006 intergovernmental project involving 17 Member States. Expanding the European Heritage Label into an initiative of the European Union will give it greater credibility, visibility and prestige.
Sixty-four sites have received the label under the existing scheme, based on selections by individual Member States (see annex for list). They range from the house of Robert Schuman, the French statesman who was one of the founding fathers of the EU, in Scy-Chazelles (Lorraine), to the Gdansk Shipyards in Poland, birthplace of Solidarność, the first independent trade union in a Warsaw Pact country, which helped trigger events that would finally unite the continent after the Cold War.
Under the proposed new scheme, each of the 27 Member States would be able to nominate up to two sites per year to receive the new European Heritage Label. A panel composed of independent experts would assess the nominations and choose up to a maximum of one site per year in each country to receive the designation. Participation in the scheme would be voluntary.
The main benefits of the European Heritage Label would be:
The proposed EU European Heritage Label differs from other cultural heritage initiatives such as the UNESCO World Heritage List or the Council of Europe’s ‘European Cultural Routes' because it would:
Annex: sites which have received the European Heritage Label under the existing scheme:
European Heritage Label – sites previously selected by Member States
These sites were selected by Member States under intergovernmental arrangements. In order to ensure the overall coherence of the European Heritage Label, sites in the European Union which were awarded the label under the intergovernmental system and which wish to obtain the new Label, will need to be re-assessed against the new criteria.