Protecting European cultural heritage

Protecting European cultural heritage

On 15 October 2020, Italian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Antonio Tajani of the Group of the European People’s Party, tabled a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:

“In September 2020, the Italian Parliament adopted the ‘stadiums amendment’ (Article 55a, Law No 120/2020) as a means to simplify the many administrative procedures provided for under the Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape. While the code is intended to protect Italy’s cultural heritage, it should not hinder essential renovation of cultural assets and thus undermine the contribution they make to local economies.

At the same time, the law must not clash with policies designed to protect European cultural heritage.

In the light of the above:

1. What steps will the Commission take to put the restoration of cultural assets on a path which both preserves cultural heritage and ensures they contribute to local economies?

2. What approach will it take with the Italian Government with a view to protecting European cultural heritage, in line with its duties enshrined in Article 3(3) TEU and Article 36 TFEU?

3. What will it do to better coordinate the actions of Member States in the culture sector and to protect artistic and cultural heritage?”

On 8 January 2021, Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, responded on behalf of the European Commission stating:

“The European Commission regards the safeguarding of all forms of cultural heritage with a high importance. The European Union (EU) has no competence, however, to intervene directly, as the protection, conservation and economic development of cultural heritage is primarily a national responsibility. The Commission operates under Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Article 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in accordance with Article 167 TFEU. Action by the EU is limited to encouraging cooperation between Member States and supporting and supplementing their action, inter alia, with a view to conserving and safeguarding cultural heritage of European significance.

As part of the legacy of the European Year of Cultural Heritage and in order to maintain the spirit of cooperation and policy dialogue between Member States, the Commission set up a Cultural Heritage Expert Group comprising representatives from Member States as well as experts and key stakeholders in the field. Within the context of the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage, it provides the Commission with advice and expertise and serves as a platform for consultation and information exchange on cultural heritage policies.

Moreover, at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the Commission set up a digital platform to facilitate regular dialogue among Member States. The Commission also initiated another platform, CreativesUnite, which allows all cultural and creative sectors to share initiatives and actions in response to the pandemic. The platform counts over 26 500 users and more than 520 posts.”


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