Cultural heritage plays an important role in the history and identity of Europe’s countries and indeed of the continent as a whole. A vital part of Europe’s economy, promoting our cultural treasures can only help boost growth and employment. On 27 April, Parliament votes on making 2018 the European Year of Cultural Heritage. More on this initiative, which aims to strengthen a sense of European identity, in our interview with Romanian MEP Mircea Diaconu.
The European Year of Cultural Heritage aims to enhance the contribution of Europe’s rich cultural traditions to economy and society, and to promote culture as an important element of the EU’s international presence. The promotion of the value of cultural heritage is also a direct response to the deliberate destruction of cultural treasures in the Middle East of late.
Following negotiations with EU governments and the European Commission, Parliament has secured a budget of €8 million from existing funds for promotional activities throughout 2018. Mircea Diaconu, a Romanian member of ALDE and author of Parliament’s report on this initiative, says: “We want to bring cultural heritage back to the public consciousness, give it the dignity it deserves and strengthen our identity. At the same time, we can rediscover what makes us European. He adds that studies have shown that investing one euro in culture gives a return of more than €20.
A European Commission study shows that an estimated 300,000 people work directly in the EU’s cultural sector and as many as 7.8 million jobs are created indirectly by the sector.