Less than two months after the adoption of the far-reaching EU Council Conclusions on cultural heritage as a strategic resource for a sustainable Europe, the European Commission has adopted today its Communication which paves the way for an integrated approach to cultural heritage in Europe.
This important policy document aims to help Member States and stakeholders to make the most of the significant support for heritage available under EU instruments and also calls for stronger cooperation at EU level to share ideas and best practices, which can feed into national heritage policies and governance. It highlights the opportunities for Member States and stakeholders to work more closely across borders to address the many challenges facing the heritage sector, and also to ensure that cultural heritage makes an even stronger contribution to a sustainable Europe.
The European Commission has also released today an accompanying "Mapping Report" which provides a comprehensive overview of EU policies, legislation, programmes and funding opportunities relevant to cultural heritage.
insitu congratulates Mrs Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and the DG Education and Culture, for this new major step forward in developing a comprehensive EU strategy for the protection and enhancement of Europe's cultural heritage.
The EC Communication stresses that Europe's cultural heritage is an asset and a responsibility for all. There can be no contradiction between national responsibilities and EU action since our heritage is always both local and European. The Communication also examines what the European Union can do, alongside the EU Member States and other public and private stakeholders, to enhance the intrinsic value of our cultural heritage. It also recognises that our cultural heritage is a key source of social innovation for smart, sustainable and inclusive development and a catalyst for creativity and growth. The European Commission recognises the role of heritage in many different EU policies, such as regional development or the EU external relations. It also welcomes the approach set by the EU's Environment Impact Assessment Directive, which requires a project's impact on cultural heritage to be considered, and the General Block Exemption Regulation which allows state aid for the sector.