The last thing the European Union needs is more top-down directives and marketing gimmicks. The retrograde art and Great Events political history (fashioned into income-generating “heritage attractions” that pass for heritage in Europe) betray the exciting and innovative programs on the community and cultural diversity themes that were so promising in the first decade of the 21st century.
Notable among them are the Council of Europe’s “Europe From One Street to the Other” programme for school children in culturally diverse urban areas– and the “Dividing lines, connecting lines – Europe’s cross-border heritage” project, meant to reflect upon (not ignore) the fracture lines of European memory.
But now that hard times have hit and the momentum of federalism has ground to a halt, the old cultural godfathers of European culture are back in the driver’s seat– and insisting on dictating to every one what “real” European heritage should be.
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Published: 10 March 2010
The European Heritage Label should be established as an EU-wide initiative, Culture Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou suggested yesterday (9 March), presenting plans to highlight historical sites across Europe that “symbolise European integration, ideals and history”.
These include the Gdańsk shipyards in Poland, birthplace of the Solidarność trade union which helped trigger the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, and the house of Robert Schuman, the French statesman considered as one of the founding fathers of the EU.
The European Commission hopes that making the heritage label an official initiative of the European Union will give it “greater credibility, visibility and prestige”.
“I believe that the European Heritage Label will help to increase public awareness of our common yet diverse cultural heritage as well as to stimulate cultural tourism and intercultural dialogue,” Commissioner Vassiliou told journalists in Strasbourg yesterday.
Member states will be asked to nominate up to two sites per year to receive the revamped label. A panel of independent experts will then assess the nominations before designating on an annual basis a maximum of one site per country.
“The label will contribute to strengthening European citizens’ sense of belonging to the EU and promote mutual understanding in Europe,” said Vassiliou.
It would also create new opportunities for Europeans to learn about the history and building of the EU, and “the democratic values and human rights that underpin European integration,” the Cypriot said.
The commissioner said the EU executive would apply strict selection and monitoring procedures to ensure that “only the most relevant sites” received the label…
To read the rest of the article, click here.
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For the present list of “most relevant sites” click here…