On Friday, May 3, Minister for European Affairs George Ciamba and the French State Secretary for European Affairs Amélie de Montchalin co-chaired the Informal Meeting of the Ministers for European Affairs and Ministers for Culture in EU Member States on the European cultural heritage, which was held in Paris.
The meeting focused on furthering the reflection on the practical ways to promote and preserve the European cultural heritage, a process initiated by the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Paris meeting took place shortly after the devastating fire of Notre Dame, a landmark in European architecture. The French hosts invited the heads of the delegations to visit the Louvre Museum, where they were shown some of masterpieces of Notre Dame of Paris.
In his speech, Minister George Ciamba emphasised the importance that Romania attached to that field of action, both as a Member State and in its capacity as current Council Presidency.
In that context, he highlighted that the cultural heritage was a priority for the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, whose goal was to make the most of the European efforts, especially those sparked by the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, a true instance of EU cooperation in promoting our common values and identity.
In that regard, the minister underlined that it was necessary to further the European initiatives designed to generate a context conducive to preserving, promoting and enhancing the cultural heritage and pointed out that the outcomes of those initiatives were critically contingent on ensuring an integrated approach and on facilitating the synergies among the programs and instruments at play at national and European levels.
In that connection, he mentioned that it was important to capitalise on the existing European initiatives, including those that encouraged volunteering in the field of culture, such as the European Solidarity Corps – a programme supporting volunteer work among young people – as well as on research initiatives, by making good use of the expertise and the resources made available through the Horizon Programme.
The minister for European affairs also expressed his support for facilitating the exchange of good practices, assistance and specialist expertise in the field of the cultural heritage, a strategic resource of the European Union.
Minister George Ciamba and his French counterpart, Amélie de Montchalin, agreed to introduce a new item on the agenda of the forthcoming General Affairs Council of May 21, namely a discussion on the European cultural heritage, as a follow-up to the informal meetings of Paris (May 3) and Bucharest (April 16).
On the margins of the meeting, the ministers collectively adopted a Joint Declaration reiterating the importance of preserving the common European heritage, of creating opportunities for young Europeans to engage in the efforts of preserving and restoring the heritage, as well as of improving the spending of the existing financial resources in order to preserve the heritage.