Recent news in cultural heritage

It’s been an eventful and fruitful time for the European movement for cultural heritage! We are delighted to share some recent developments.

Creation of an Observatory on History Teaching in Europe: 

  • During her intervention at the closing session of the European Policy Debate ‘Cultural Heritage at the Heart of the Revival of the European Project’ held on 30 October as the closing event of our Paris Summit, the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Amélie de Montchalin, among others, announced the creation of an Observatory on History Teaching in Europe, initiated by the French Presidency of the Council of Europe.  
  •  On 26 November, during the meeting of Ministers of Education in Paris, the creation of the Observatory was adopted by an initial group of 23 States through a Ministerial Declaration, with the aim of  “providing an opportunity to promote practices encouraging history teaching in line with the values of the CoE enshrined in our conventions". Read the Ministerial Declaration here. 

European Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg: Climate change-related impacts on cultural heritage and the Venice Lagoon: 

  • In its plenary session on 26 November in Strasbourg, the European Parliament discussed the need for a joint EU response to extreme meteorological events and their impacts on urban areas and their cultural heritage. Over 30 Members of the European Parliament took the floor to address this important topic, many of them recalling the vulnerability of Venice and its Lagoon and calling for urgent EU solidarity and action. Watch the video of the session here, see our tweet here.  
  • Laurence Farreng, one of the newly-elected Members of the European Parliament (member of the RENEW Europe Group), explicitly mentioned the Venice Lagoon as the most endangered Heritage site in Europe, as listed by Europa Nostra and the EIB Institute in 2016. Prior to the EP Plenary Meeting and upon her request, we shared with her, among other documents, the excellent document on the threats to Venice and its Lagoon which was recently published by our Italian Member organisation, Fondo Ambiente Italiano. We are delighted to count with an ally at the CULT Committee in the person of Laurence Farreng!
  • The Europa Nostra 7 Most Endangered Advisory Board (7ME) met in The Hague to discuss, among other things, the alarming situation of the Venice Lagoon. In consultation with the 7ME Advisory Board the Secretariat prepared a Europa Nostra Statement urging EU leaders to take immediate action to save Venice and its Lagoon. We also urged the European Parliament to organise a large public hearing dedicated to the endangered cultural and natural heritage of Venice and its Lagoon. 

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission announced new title of EU Commissioner-designate Marya Gabriel: 

  • During her impressive speech at the European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg on 27 November, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the portfolio of EU Commissioner-designate Marya Gabriel will be renamed as follows: EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.  While doing so, she recalled that, "Culture and education are what link our history with our future. This is what makes us unique. Our soul, our culture, our diversity, our heritage". This announcement was met with strong applause by members of the European Parliament. Read the full speech here. 
  • The announcement of the new portfolio title comes after an important mobilisation of culture and heritage stakeholders, including members of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3, who deeply regretted the omission of the word 'culture' in Gabriel's important portfolio (initially entitled Commissioner for Innovation and Youth). We can be very proud of the reach and impact of our joint efforts!
  • In our Paris Manifesto RELANÇONS L’EUROPE PAR LA CULTURE ET LE PATRIMOINE CULTUREL!, we stress the key role of cultural heritage for the revival of the European Project and launch a vibrant call to EU leaders. In this Manifesto, we also explicitly called on EU leaders to bring ‘culture’ back to the title of Gabriel's portfolio. 


We hope you find this information useful. An important new phase of our advocacy and engagement for cultural heritage in Europe is ahead of us, building new alliances and working closely with new EU leaders who seem to be committed to give culture and cultural heritage a more prominent place among the EU priorities. We very much look forward to achieving this, together.  


Lorena Aldana is the Outreach Officer for Europa Nostra – The voice for cultural heritage in Europe (www.europanostra.org, facebook.com/europanostra). She can be contacted at: lao@europanostra.org. 

[This article was edited from an email received by IE through the European Heritage Alliance 3.3.]

To cite this article:
Aldana, Lorena (2019) ‘Recent news in cultural heritage'. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 4-2019, 26.
Available online: www.interpret-europe.net/fileadmin/Documents/publications/Newsletters/ie-newsletter_2019-4_winter.pdf

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