Proposal for a European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018 (2)

After the European Commission announced in April 2016 its intention to designate 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage, on the 30th of August 2016, it officially presented the text of the proposal to the European Parliament and Council. This proposal represents a great achievement for the cultural heritage sector as a whole and is the result of many past actions and interactions which are all described in previous EHHF news articles. Both the Reflection Group ‘EU and cultural heritage’ and the European Heritage Heads Forum are referred to in the proposal as intergovernmental bodies who played a major role in the past few years in facilitating these accomplishments. By bringing together on a regular basis heritage public officers from various European states, the EHHF and the Reflection Group have drawn attention on the shared sense of history, identity and cultural awareness existing in Europe. The German Cultural Heritage Committee (Deutsches Nationalkomitee fur Denkmalschutz) instigated the idea of a European Year in 2014, which was welcomed by all its European counterparts.

The European Year of Cultural Heritage will clearly contribute to the attainment of shared goals in the pan-European context by developing a more integrated approach to cultural heritage. Harmonising heritage policies across Europe can address some common challenges: decreasing public budgets in culture, declining participation in traditional cultural activities, environmental pressures on heritage sites, evolving value chains and digital transformation. This is one of the reasons why the Commission considers that cultural heritage deserves a European Year in 2018. Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, said: "Our cultural heritage is more than the memory of our past; it is the key to our future. A European Year of Cultural Heritage will be an opportunity to raise awareness of the social and economic importance of cultural heritage and to promote European excellence in the sector. I call on the European Parliament and Council to support our proposal and invite all stakeholders to help make this year a success."

In practical terms, the European Year will be centred around conferences, events, sharing of experiences, awareness-raising campaigns, as well as research and innovation activities. It will be implemented within existing EU funding programme budgets such as Creative Europe, the European structural and investment funds, Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, etc. In respect of the subsidiarity principle, national coordinators shall be appointed by each Member State. Representatives from public heritage authorities have already started to meet and discuss the organisation of the Year. In July 2016, the German Cultural Heritage Committee has invited these representatives together with the EU Commission and Europa Nostra in Berlin establishing a rationale for transnational cooperation.

One of the objectives of the European Year of particular interest for the EHHF Economic Taskforce is to foster the development of indicators and benchmarks on the positive contribution of cultural heritage to society and the economy. The members of the Economic Taskforce welcome the opportunity and look forward to providing their experience on the subject to the EU.

Finally, by bringing to the fore Europe’s cultural heritage, the Year will allow greater synergy in the sector to fight against the illegal trafficking of cultural goods as well as the deliberate destruction of heritage in conflict zones.


Link to the press release:

Link to the text of the proposal: