Vienna, 7 December 2018

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Good morning,

I am happy to be here today, to conclude a very successful European Year of Cultural Heritage.

I am proud that the Year has reached more than 6 million people across Europe, and that we saw almost 12,000 events taking place across 37 countries.

We need to build on this success. Because culture and cultural heritage have a key role in driving economic development, fostering social cohesion and strengthening our relations with our partners across the world.

This is why I am today launching a European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage. I want to make sure that the legacy of the European Year lives on, and that cultural heritage remains at the top of the political agenda.

The Framework will guide our work to promote and safeguard cultural heritage at European level. Some of the actions focus on making cultural heritage open and accessible to all and ensuring its sustainability and resilience. I also want to boost innovation and international cooperation in cultural heritage. The actions will include research projects, funding opportunities, as well as cooperation with stakeholders and international organisations. Overall, the Framework puts forward over 60 actions that we will implement in 2019 and 2020.

We are also bringing cultural heritage further into the digital age with the launch of Cultural Gems, a mobile application developed by the European Commission’s in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre. This app – presented at this conference – will enable local communities to show their hidden cultural attractions. At the same time, it will allow visitors and locals alike to discover cultural and creative places off the beaten track.

I hope Cultural Gems will particularly attract young people across Europe and connect them with culture and cultural heritage. Young people were indeed one of the main target groups of our campaign this year. And the app is one of the ways in which we hope to keep raising their interest in cultural heritage and enabling them to learn about their roots.

These results and our ambitious plans for the future show: we are putting everything in place to ensure that culture and cultural heritage stay centre stage – and that we make the most of them in building a resilient, cohesive Europe.  Thank you.