Today, on 7 December Minister of Culture Indrek Saar will participate in the European Culture Forum in Milan, where he will deliver a keynote speech. Within the framework of the forum, he will also participate in the official launching of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.
The objective of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, initiated by the European Commission, is to encourage people to explore Europe's rich and diverse cultural heritage, celebrate its unique value, and reflect on the place that cultural heritage occupies in our lives. The European Culture Forum is a biennial event organised by the European Commission, where experts and policymakers as well as representatives of the cultural sector, meet to discuss topical European cultural issues and the cultural initiatives of the European Union.
According to Minister of Culture Indrek Saar, Europe is more than economy and the single market, it is also about our creativity, culture and heritage. “Culture is the very cornerstone of our being; it shapes our identity and sense of belonging, and plays an important role in building a cohesive and inclusive society,” said Saar.
He added that the European Year of Cultural Heritage will take place during a particularly significant year for Estonia, when the Republic of Estonia celebrates its centenary. “Currently, our key task is to ensure better digital access to culture. On the other hand, we must also more effectively involve the public in the creation, preservation and reusage of culture. The European Year of Cultural Heritage will help to inform the public of the importance of involvement in order to ensure that our culture and heritage continues to be vital and accessible,” Saar emphasised.
The activities related to the European Year of Cultural Heritage will be coordinated by the Estonian National Heritage Board in cooperation with the Estonian Folklore Council. According to Siim Raie, the Director-General of the National Heritage Board, the idea of the initiative is to encourage people to celebrate both spiritual, digital and tangible heritage. “The events and undertakings during the year are focused on the present day and on the current culture carriers, because this is the way to give the past new meaning and usefulness,” said Raie. “The history of Estonia and Europe provides a rich, inspiring and engaging basis for our contemporary activities in all spheres,” Raie emphasised.
This year’s European Culture Forum, which will take place on 7-8 December, is also dedicated to the upcoming European Year of Cultural Heritage. At the forum, discussions will seek answers to the questions of whether Europeans care about culture and heritage, what is the social role of culture, and what is the contribution it can makes to society.
The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 will be declared officially open on the first day of the European Culture Forum. The opening ceremony will be led by Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport, with the participation of Estonian Minister of Culture Indrek Saar, representing the Estonian Presidency of the EU, Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, Dario Franceschini, Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, and MEP Petra Kammerevert, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education.
Watch live streaming of the European Culture Forum starting at 10:30 am Estonian time, here.
For more information about the organisation and programme of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in Estonia, see www.parandiaasta.ee and follow the news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kultuuriparandiaasta/.
Spokesperson for the 2017 Estonian Presidency of the EU, Ministry of Culture
Project Manager for the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in Estonia