Europa Nostra reflects on Europe’s recovery and revival package.
On Tuesday, after the longest European Council ever, EU leaders reached a historic agreement on a €1824.3 billion package for Europe’s recovery and revival, with increased support for Europe’s social cohesion and resilience through a green and digital transition. For this occasion, Hermann Parzinger, Executive President of Europa Nostra, has recorded a special video message distributed through their Agora digital newsletter in which he reflects on the European Council outcomes.
The video message and the accompanying written message is added below.
The historic agreement is captured in the European Council Conclusions which were adopted on 21 July 2020. Europa Nostra welcomed this package, combining the “Next Generation EU” Recovery Fund and the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period 2021-2027, as a step in the right direction and a very positive signal to our citizens and to the world.
The new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the next seven years amounts to €1074.3 billion. Reinforced by “Next Generation EU”, it will also be the main instrument to ensure Europe’s socio-economic recovery. Europa Nostra acknowledges a slight increase of the Creative Europe programme budget (2021-2027), which amounts to €1.64 billion compared to €1,46 billion for the period 2014-2020 and remains in line with the proposal made in 2018 by the European Commission. Although this does not come close to the doubling of the budget for which we have actively campaigned, together with other European networks in the wider fields of culture and heritage and with the European Parliament, we can be satisfied that no budget cuts were made to this vital programme supporting European cooperation related to the cultural and creative sectors, including cultural heritage.
This is a non-negligible achievement in comparison to other priority areas – such as innovation, research or education – which have seen their budgets decrease. We, however hope that these budget cuts will be eliminated in the final text of the MFF thanks to the strong support of the European Parliament for these programmes which are considered as vital investment in Europe’s talents and young generation. The “Next Generation EU” recovery package amounts to €750 billion as initially proposed by the European Commission last May. This package includes €390 billion in grants to Member States and €360 billion in loans. For the very first time, the European Commission will be able to borrow money directly on the financial markets. This unprecedented Recovery Programme has potential relevance for the heritage sector with a special emphasis on the ReactEU instrument (€47,5 billion), which will enable heritage organisations, public and private, as well as heritage sites to secure financing at national, regional and local level. It is therefore essential to mobilise the heritage movement at all levels to ensure that the heritage sector and industry duly benefit from these funds. Europa Nostra applauds that 30% of the total expenditure will target climate-related projects and that investments will be made on the condition of respect for the rule of law. We must make sure that the cultural heritage world and our shared European values, which lie at the core of the European project, are duly included in these major actions.
Yesterday, the European Parliament assessed the recovery package during an extraordinary plenary session. In a resolution, which serves as a mandate for the upcoming budget negotiations, MEPs positively welcomed the recovery package, but also deplored the significant cuts made to future-oriented programmes such as the Flagship EU programmes for culture, education, youth, research or climate protection. With the view to the forthcoming negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (presided by Germany until the end of 2020), Europa Nostra applauds the position of the European Parliament and calls on MEPs to capitalise on the essential role of culture, cultural heritage and education for Europe and its citizens to secure higher investments in the Creative Europe, Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe programmes in the new MFF.
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