The European Parliament adopted today the Decision establishing 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage by a large majority. The vote follows a political agreement by the European Parliament and the Council in February this year. The Council is expected to formally adopt the Decision in May.
Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: "Cultural heritage is an essential part of our European identity and at the heart of the European project - the declaration adopted by Heads of State and Government in Rome last month recognises and celebrates its importance. Cultural heritage is not only a means to understand our past, but also an asset that can help us build the Europe of the future. The Year will help bring the richness of our European cultural heritage to the fore, highlighting its many social and economic benefits. I would like to thank the Rapporteur, Mircea Diaconu, and the shadow rapporteurs; Silvia Costa leading the Parliament's negotiating team, and the Maltese Presidency of the Council for their invaluable work on this initiative. I count on the continued commitment and enthusiasm of the Parliament, Member States and cultural heritage stakeholders to make this Year a success and to guarantee its long-term impact."
The European Year of Cultural Heritage will be a truly European initiative with a series of events taking place at all levels: European, national, regional and local. It will be an opportunity to involve citizens from all backgrounds, in particular children and young people, in events and projects emphasising Europe's heritage and values, helping to strengthen a sense of belonging to a European family. The objective is to allow increased access to heritage for all and encourage people to get involved in managing and caring for it. The Year will also provide the opportunity to debate, reflect on and make a 'quality leap' in preserving and restoring heritage. The involvement of Member States and cultural heritage stakeholders will be key to the success of the Year.
In addition, the Year will highlight the strong economic role that cultural heritage plays. More than 300,000 people are directly employed in the European cultural heritage sector and 7.8 million European jobs are indirectly linked to cultural heritage, for example in tourism and building work, as well as ancillary services such as transport, interpretation services and maintenance and security of cultural sites. This is why sustainable cultural tourism will be high on the Year's agenda, together with the promotion of heritage skills. Finally, the Year is expected to raise awareness of the wide array of EU funding opportunities cultural heritage can benefit from, such as programmes for the environment, through the Natura 2000 sites, other programmes on cultural tourism, citizenship, and external relations or Erasmus+, the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport.
From archaeological sites to architecture, from medieval castles to folklore traditions and arts, Europe's cultural heritage is at the very heart of the collective memory and identity of European citizens. The EU's rich national, regional and local diversity is a unique catalyst for exchanges between people of all ages, social backgrounds and cultures.
That is why on 30 August 2016 the Commission presented its proposal to designate 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage.
The Year will have a budget of EUR 8 million, part of which will be dedicated to a call launched under the Creative Europe programme to fund transnational cooperation projects in the field of cultural heritage. The Commission will also devote some resources to around 10 flagship initiatives at European level, which will include, for instance, initiatives on safeguarding cultural heritage from natural and man-made disasters and on fighting illicit trafficking of cultural goods. In addition, the Year will benefit from numerous initiatives and projects funded by Horizon 2020, Natura 2000, Europe for Citizens, Erasmus+, Europe's programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (COSME), and the European Structural and Investment Funds, which shows the EU's cross-sectoral commitment to protecting cultural heritage.
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