0529 GMT January 23, 2018
The European Year of Cultural Heritage aims to enhance the contribution of Europe's rich cultural traditions to economy and society, and to promote culture as an important element of the EU's international presence. Promoting the value of cultural heritage is also a direct response to the deliberate destruction of cultural treasures in the Middle East of late, eureporter.co reported.
Throughout the year thousands of activities will take place across Europe to involve people more closely with cultural heritage at local, regional, national and European levels.
A European Commission study shows that an estimated 300,000 people work directly in the EU's cultural sector and as many as 7.8 million jobs are created indirectly by the sector.
According to a Eurobarometer survey released on December7, more than eight out of ten Europeans think cultural heritage is important to them personally and to their local community. Eight out of ten think cultural heritage is important for the European Union. Almost eight out of ten respondents agree Europe’s cultural heritage or cultural heritage-related activities create jobs in the EU.
In April 2017 MEPs voted in favor of making 2018 the European Year of Cultural Heritage and secured a budget of €8 million from existing funds for promotional activities throughout the year.
Mircea Diaconu, a Romanian ALDE member and author of Parliament's report on this initiative, said: "We want to bring cultural heritage back to the public consciousness, give it the dignity it deserves and strengthen our identity. At the same time, we can rediscover what makes us European."
He added that studies have shown that investing one euro in culture gives a return of more than €20.