The framework for the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 has been set: Promoting how cultural heritage contributes to cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, the economy and society and promote it as a key element of the EU's internal dimension.
It is the declared goal to highlight the importance of European culture, fostering a shared sense of identity and history and with it the involvement of the EU to improve and develop conservation, digitisation, infrastructure, audience engagement, research and the development of skills. These areas and others will be supported through known funding schemes such as Creative Europe and Horizon2020.
The challenges posed by decreasing public budgets are meant to be met with an enhancement of the contribution of European cultural heritage to the economy and society. This, as stated in the proposal, "includes the capacity to underpin the cultural and creative industries and inspire creation and innovation, promote sustainable tourism, and generate long-term local employment."
Additionally, it is the goal to seek answers to declining participation in traditional cultural activities; increasing environmental and physical pressures on heritage sites; transforming value chains and expectations as a result of the digital shift; and the illegal trafficking of cultural artefacts. The latter is set to be a key element of the EU's external policies, while highlighting the important role of cultural heritage for the EU's internal dimension it is the goal to promote the relevance of cultural heritage in conflict zones, e.g. the Middle East.
The detailed proposal by the European Commission presented on 30 August 2016 followed EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navrascics announcement in April 2016 and previous decisions, e.g. by the Council of Europe to include cultural heritage as a strategic resource for a sustainable Europe as well as the Commission's communication Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe.
At the same time, the proposal and the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 are the result of joint efforts from the European institutions, national policy-makers and civil society organisations. As part of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3, NEMO was actively involved in the process.
European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics also highlighted that the Year's success depends on such joint efforts: "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."