New EU agenda states the importance of cultural heritage
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New EU agenda states the importance of cultural heritage

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I urge you to recognise the strategic value of our shared culture and cultural heritage
– Placido Domingo

Investing in culture and cultural heritage has been included in the EU's new strategic agenda, marking the first time that such a commitment has been expressly made by the body.

A New Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 sets out the priorities for the EU over the next five years, articulating four main areas: protecting citizens and freedoms; developing a strong and vibrant economic base; building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe; and promoting European values and interests on the global stage.

At the end of the section on climate-neutrality and a fair and social Europe, the agenda states: "We will invest in culture and our cultural heritage, which are at the heart of our European identity."

The agenda was drawn up and agreed at the European Council meeting on 20 June, attended by all the leaders of EU member states.

Following on from 2018 being the European Year of Cultural Heritage, the pledge has been welcomed by Europa Nostra, the European heritage organisation, which has members from more than 40 European countries. In fact, Europa Nostra is claiming some success in lobbying for the commitment by EU leaders, citing an open letter from its president, the Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo, to all 28 EU heads of state, as well as European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, shortly before the meeting.

In the letter, Domingo urged them to "recognise the strategic value of our shared culture and cultural heritage for the future of Europe".

Europa Nostra declared the inclusion of the wording to be a "significant victory", showing that its voice has a "strong resonance all across Europe". However, it also looked ahead to action as well as words from the EU on cultural heritage, with the organisation's secretary general, Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, saying:

"The European Cultural Heritage Summit scheduled for 27-30 October 2019 in Paris will provide an excellent opportunity to renew our appeal to EU leaders to live up to the expectations of so many heritage stakeholders, citizens and communities who care for our shared cultural heritage."

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Investing in culture and cultural heritage has been included in the EU's new strategic agenda, marking the first time that such a commitment has been expressly made by the body.
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