European Heritage Alliance meets just after the 2024 European elections, calls for culture and heritage to be at the centre

On 11 June 2024, the European Heritage Alliance gathered online for its first meeting of the year, bringing together 35 representatives from 21 major heritage networks at a turning point for Europe. The Alliance reaffirmed its commitment to advocating for increased support and funding for culture and heritage in the upcoming European legislative period.

The Cultural Deal for Europe campaign, the synergies between the European Heritage Hub project and the Alliance, and many other impressive initiatives carried out by Alliance members were discussed at the meeting.

Attention was drawn to the importance of the future Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament, the possible creation of a European Heritage Fund by the future Parliament, and the explicit mention of the word “culture” in the portfolio title of the Commissioner responsible.

Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary-General of Europa Nostra and Leader of the European Heritage Hub project, called for a new joint statement from the European Heritage Alliance to the next European Commission.

Jimmy Jamar, Head of the Brussels Office of Europa Nostra, shared the lessons learnt from the European Elections, while Dimitra Kizlari, European Policy Manager at Europa Nostra, detailed the place of culture and cultural heritage in the various political parties Manifestos, including the European Green Party, the European People’s Party, the European Conservatives and Reformists, the European Democratic Party, the European Left, and the Party of European Socialists.

The Cultural Deal for Europe was in the spotlight as the campaign ramps up, launching a call to the new leaders of the EU institutions to place culture and heritage at the top of the agenda. Stefanie Bonnici from the European Cultural Foundation urged the members of the Alliance to spread the campaign further among their networks and contacts.

The op-ed “What we need is a Cultural Deal for Europe” prepared by Lars Ebert, Secretary General Culture Action Europe, Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary-General of Europa Nostra, and André Wilkens, Director of the European Cultural Foundation, was published on Euronews on the very day of the Alliance meeting.

During the meeting, chaired by Lilian Grootswagers, President of the Advisory Board of Future for Religious Heritage, a detailed update on new developments within the European Heritage Hub was presented to the Alliance. Carla Toffolo, Hub Programme Manager, presented the first “Heritage Dialogues’ webinar, entitled “Cultural Heritage for an Inclusive and Democratic Europe’, which took place in the morning of 11 June.

Dimitra Kizlari, European Policy Manager at Europa Nostra, presented the Policy Monitor which maps policies impacting cultural and natural heritage across European, national and local levels. The Monitor is a digital platform that groups heritage and heritage-related policies based on the five pillars from the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage: digital, green, heritage preservation, inclusion, and international cultural relations.

Christy Drummond, Communications Manager at Europa Nostra, introduced the Social Forum, a dedicated social media platform recently launched by the Hub, and warmly encouraged all members of the Alliance to connect and join thematic online groups. She also presented the Heritage Library, a digital repository of heritage-related materials across Europe, and asked the Alliance to submit content and help to build a comprehensive selection of quality resources on heritage.

Lorena Aldana, Head of External Relations and Advocacy at Europeana, announced that the second European Heritage Hub Forum on Cultural Heritage and Digital Transformation will be organised by the Europeana Foundation in cooperation with the Hub partners on 7 October in the framework of the European Cultural Heritage Summit 2024 in Bucharest. 

A survey on how to enhance the collaboration between the Alliance and the European Heritage Hub was shared with the members after the meeting.

Several members of the Alliance also shared their impressive initiatives, including the results of the ReInHerit Horizon2020 CSA, presented by Manos Vougioukas, Secretary General of the European Cultural Tourism Network; the latest developments of the ANCHISE project, presented by Marco Fiore, Policy and Project Manager at Michael Culture; updates on the CHARTER project, presented by GiannaLia Cogliandro, Secretary General of ENCATC; and an overview of the 26 exemplary European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards Winners 2024, made by Elena Bianchi, Programme Manager of the Awards at Europa Nostra.

The relevance of the European Heritage Hub in connecting all these initiatives and heritage stakeholders was clearly reaffirmed, highlighting its role not only as a crucial space for collaboration but also a strategic platform to further demonstrate heritage as an invaluable vector for achieving many priorities of the EU and beyond.

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