The European Commission has proposed 2018 as the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The final decision now lies with the European Parliament and the Council.

Europe's cities and landscapes are marked by physical memories of the past. Castles, bridges and archaeological wonders are some of the most quintessential examples. Traditions, languages and art passed through the generations shape our everyday lives.

"Our cultural heritage is more than the memory of our past; it is the key to our future. A European Year of Cultural Heritage will be an opportunity to raise awareness of the social and economic importance of cultural heritage and to promote European excellence in the sector."

"I call on the European Parliament and Council to support our proposal and invite all stakeholders to help make this Year a success."

Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport

Because cultural heritage is so central to Europe's identity and due to the grave threats it faces in conflict zones, the European Commission considers that the time is right to celebrate cultural heritage in 2018.

The year will highlight what the EU can do for conservation, digitisation, infrastructure, research and skills development. Cultural heritage is supported through Creative Europe, the funding programme for the cultural and audiovisual sectors. Events will be organised across Europe, as well as information, education and awareness-raising campaigns.

Cultural heritage can play a key role in the EU's relations with the rest of the world, particularly in responding to the destruction of cultural heritage in conflict zones and the illegal trafficking of cultural artefacts.

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