What is it about?

The European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage aims to capture and scale-up the success of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. The European Year of Cultural heritage aimed at encouraging more people to discover and engage with Europe's cultural heritage, and to reinforce a sense of belonging to a common European space.

To ensure that the efforts initiated during the Year have a lasting impact beyond 2018, the European Commission has released a European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage.

Why is it needed?

The European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage reflects the common set-up for heritage-related activities at European level, primarily in EU policies and programmes.

It proposes around 60 actions be implemented by the European Commission in 2019 and 2020.  These actions seek to promote and protect Europe’s cultural heritage.

What is the Commission's role?

The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union gives the Commission the specific tasks of supporting culture in the Member States, while respecting their diversity and bringing "the common cultural heritage to the fore" (art. 167 TFEU).

The European Union's role is therefore to assist and complement the actions of the Member States in preserving and promoting Europe's cultural heritage.

The Commission has developed a number of relevant policies, programmes and initiatives to achieve these objectives, including the designation of the 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage. All the actions included in the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage will be implemented by the European Commission, many of them in partnership with key actors such as the Council of Europe and UNESCO.

At national level, the European Commission invites Member States to draw up similar frameworks for action on heritage on a voluntary basis in order to complement the European Framework. What has been achieved so far?

During the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, over 6.2 million people took part in more than 11,700 events organised across 37 countries. The European Commission also implemented 10 long-term European Initiatives as a main policy input for the Year.

In addition, the EU funded many projects supporting cultural heritage. A dedicated call for cooperation projects relating to the European Year was launched under the Creative Europe programme. A wealth of additional opportunities was made available under Erasmus+, Europe for Citizens, Horizon 2020, and other EU programmes.

What are the next steps?

The European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage establishes a set of 4 principles and 5 main areas of continued action for Europe’s cultural heritage, to which the EU is contributing.

The 4 principles of the European Framework for Action on Cultural heritage are:

  • A holistic approach, looking at cultural heritage as a resource for the future and putting people at its heart;
  • Mainstreaming and integrated approach across different EU policies;
  •  Evidence-based policy making, including through cultural statistics;
  • Multi-stakeholder cooperation, encouraging the dialogue and exchange among a wide range of actors when designing and implementing cultural heritage policies and programmes.

The 5 areas of action, along with some examples of concrete actions, are as follows:

  •  Cultural heritage for an inclusive Europe: participation and access for all
  •  Cultural heritage for a sustainable Europe: smart solutions for a cohesive and sustainable future.
  • Cultural heritage for a resilient Europe: safeguarding endangered heritage
  • Cultural heritage for an innovative Europe: mobilising knowledge and research
  • Cultural heritage for stronger global partnerships: reinforcing international cooperation

The Framework has also established a Cultural Heritage Forum, which will act as a platform for consultation and exchanging best practice for sustainable and participatory cultural heritage policies in Europe.  The forum will involve European institutions, EU Member States, European cultural heritage networks and international organisations, and will meet at least once a year from 2019.