The ministers also emphasise that cultural heritage is a major asset for Europe and for the entire European project.

The >conclusions from the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council meeting - for the first time on these topics - emphasize the strong contribution of cultural heritage to the achievement of the EU 2020 strategy goals for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The important role that cultural heritage plays in creating and enhancing social capital is highlighted in the conclusions, paying particular attention to its economic impact and its key contribution to environmental sustainability.

The conclusions look at the cross-cutting nature of cultural heritage in the many national and European policies, calling for better addressing the direct and indirect impact of those policies on heritage and fully deploy of the strong potential that it offers for the achievements of their objectives.

Member States are invited to consider including cultural heritage in the next Council Work Plan for Culture, a major framework for the EU's medium-term cultural cooperation that which will be implemented from 2015 onwards.

In addition the conclusions call for more resources to be invested in cultural heritage and continued support for the EU action for the European Heritage label, improve the collection and analysis of data, and promotion of education on cultural education.

The Commission is also invited to further support at EU level the networking of, and pooling of resources between, public and private sector heritage experts and practitioners as well as civil society organisations.