Simonas Kairys: “We must encourage cultural initiatives that emphasize shared European values”


2021 05 18


In order to foster cultural heritage, EU member states should cooperate with one another more intensely and not only share good practices but also develop joint initiatives together: especially those that reflect European values.

This was stated by Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys when he attended the meeting of the EU Council of Culture Ministers in Brussels.

In the meeting on 18 May, a lot of attention was given to the subject of heritage. The political debate included discussion of possible EU-level actions that would promote more diverse funding sources and mechanisms of culture heritage preservation and maintenance. 

“In order to improve the diversification of cultural heritage funding sources and mechanisms, we must promote EU-level cooperation between member states sharing the good practices and knowledge as well as develop shared initiatives such as the Cultural Routes. Also, more attention should be given to cultural initiatives that emphasise shared European values, e.g., the European Heritage Label”, the Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys said. During discussions on subjects related to heritage, the participants also highlighted that heritage is an investment in the future, while its fostering could also contribute to the implementation of the Green Deal’s ideas.

At the council, the EU ministers of culture discussed the need to conduct a feasibility study in order to establish a strategic advisory council which could prepare a long-term vision for the promotion, protection and preservation of European cultural heritage. Simonas Kairys expressed support for the idea of the feasibility study but noted the need to properly evaluate the aspect of the strategic advisory council’s funding.

“Such a council could help ensure faster and better-quality dissemination of information as well as unite the member states to share good practices in the field of heritage and coordinate the preparation of a long-term Strategy for Cultural Heritage. Nevertheless, we would like to emphasise that any establishment requires a thorough evaluation of the aspects of financial, human resources, additional administrative burden and the need itself. The funds of the Creative Europe programme and other EU funds currently planned for the financing of the culture sector should not be used for the establishment and support of the new advisory council”, Kairys said.

The ministers of culture who were gathered in Brussels approved the council’s conclusions regarding the recovery, resilience and sustainability of the cultural and creative sectors, as well as the council’s conclusions “European Media in the Digital Decade. Plan of Recovery and Transformation Support Actions”. Both conclusions were approved in response to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the cultural and creative sector as well as the media sector, in order to help them recover and prepare for various possible crises in the future.  

Before the council’s meeting, the Minister Simonas Kairys met with Estonia’s Minister of Culture Anneli Ott and discussed further cooperation of the countries regarding the Baltic Culture Foundation. The minister also presented the program of the upcoming Kaunas the European Capital of Culture 2022 and informed her about the aim to include Kaunas modernist architecture in the UNESCO World Heritage List.