Simonas Kairys at the Council of Culture Ministers: “Kaunas is a great example how EU possibilities change not only the locations but also the communities”

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2021 11 30

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The possibilities created by the EU in the fields of culture and heritage can bring significant changes not only in specific locations but also in the local communities, and Kaunas is a great example of that.

This was stated by the Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys when he was attending the meeting of the Council of the Ministers of Audiovisual Affairs today in Brussels.

Together with colleagues from other countries, Kairys participated in a political discussion titled “Cultural Heritage and the Rights to Heritage in the Context of Sustainable Development and the Future of Europe”, during which the Minister of Culture also presented Lithuania’s heritage policies.

“While formulating Lithuania’s cultural heritage policy, we aim for an integrated perspective on the protection and preservation of material and immaterial cultural heritage as well as involvement of the public. We intend to improve the legal framework by recognising that cultural heritage is public interest and determining the mechanisms for the participation of public stakeholders in the processes of heritage identification, research, interpretation, protection and promotion. We are also planning to determine the mechanism of the assessment of impact on heritage by scheduling consultations with the public”, Kairys said. According to him, the public’s active interest in heritage in Lithuania is also confirmed by the development of cultural heritage and frequently used activities offered by the Culture Passport that are related to cultural heritage.

In the opinion of the Minister of Culture, more active sharing of good practices related to sustainable management of cultural heritage is necessary at the overall EU level, using such European initiatives as the European Heritage Label. “Lithuania’s aim to add the Kaunas modernist architecture to the UNESCO World Heritage List has encouraged significant change by uniting the Kaunas communities and increasing the significance of modernist architecture and pride in this heritage among the public. The future programme of Kaunas – the European Capital of Culture has also contributed meaningfully to this process. Kaunas is a great example of how the possibilities of the EU bring about changes at a specific location and in the local community”, Kairys told the members of the Council.

Today the Council approved the conclusions regarding culture, high-quality architecture and built environment as particularly important elements of the New European Bauhaus initiative, as well as the conclusions regarding the increasing of the accessibility and competitiveness of European audiovisual and media content.

According to Simonas Kairys, the New European Bauhaus initiative is another great tool to not just more purposefully and effectively utilise financial resources but also to unite the public and increase its involvement in the development of a high-quality, sustainable and inclusive living environment.

“In order to implement the goals of sustainable development we have to increase the synergy of the protection of not just material and immaterial cultural heritage but also the cultural and natural heritage. Two months ago, the integrity of cultural heritage and the protected territories was established in the general plan of Lithuania’s territory approved by the Government. This is important in order to preserve the established cultural landscape of the country”, the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania said.

In his view, it is necessary to continue improving cooperation between EU institutions and UNESCO in the development of such joint projects as the creation of an interactive tool which displays the locations of World Heritage and Natura 2000.