The leaders of the European Parliament and Council have reached a temporary agreement that proposes 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage.
“Cultural heritage includes assets of the past, in many different forms and dimensions. They include monuments, sites, traditions, knowledge and expressions of human creativity, as well as the collections guarded and run by museums, libraries and archives”, the EU explains in a notice.
“The purpose of this initiative is to raise awareness of European history and values and strengthen the feeling of European identity. At the same time, attention is drawn to the opportunities provided by our cultural heritage as well as to the challenges that it must deal with, such as the impact of transition to the digital world, environmental and physical pressure on heritage sites, and illegal trafficking of cultural property”.
Because cultural heritage is so central to Europe’s identity and due to the grave threats it faces in conflict zones, the European Commission considers that the time is right to celebrate cultural heritage in 2018. The year will highlight what the EU can do for conservation, digitisation, infrastructure, research and skills development.
Cultural heritage is supported through Creative Europe, the funding programme for the cultural and audiovisual sectors. Events will be organised across Europe, as well as information, education and awareness-raising campaigns. Cultural heritage can play a key role in the EU’s relations with the rest of the world, particularly in responding to the destruction of cultural heritage in conflict zones and the illegal trafficking of cultural artifacts.
The main goals of this European Year are, promoting cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and social cohesion, emphasising how the cultural heritage contributes to economy in cultural and creative areas, emphasising the role of the cultural heritage in the EU’s external relations, such as conflict prevention, post-conflict reconciliation and the reconstruction of any destroyed cultural heritage. 8 million euros’ funds will be provided for the European Year.
The recent Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe report shows that heritage creates jobs, encourages investment and can improve social cohesion. An estimated 300,000 people work directly in the cultural heritage sector in the EU and as many as 7.8 million jobs are created indirectly by the sector.