“Exchanges made us richer, not weaker. Culture in Europe is always plural – because so many different cultures belong in this continent. European culture is diversity. European culture is distinction, and it is at the same time common ground.”
Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission
“Cultural heritage helps us learn about each other and ourselves. It builds bridges between people, between communities – and between the past and the future. That is why cultural heritage has a key role to play in building a cohesive, resilient, united Europe.”
Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport
The year 2018, as the European Year of Cultural Heritage, is an opportunity to value the role of Europe's cultural heritage in fostering a shared sense of history and identity. The Year will highlight cultural heritage as a resource for Europe, bringing multiple benefits, in terms of intercultural dialogue, social cohesion and economic growth, and promoting European dimension in the sector.
In the Western Balkans, the year will see the ‘cultural heritage route’, which consists of a series of initiatives and events on material and immaterial heritage, supported by the European Union and its Member States. The Route aims to connect and highlight events organised by the EU Delegations and EU National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), in close cooperation with local civil society, celebrating cultural heritage in all its forms.
The Route encompasses culture in a broader sense as outlined in the Joint Communication on culture in the EU's external relations, and aims to develop durable and sustainable networks between cultural operators and heritage sites in the European Union and the Western Balkans partners.
This initiative complements the strong commitment of the European Union to the Western Balkans’ EU integration perspective, in full coherence with the Western Balkans Strategy which the European Commission presented in February 2018. More than shaping our identities and everyday life, culture can have a significant impact on economic growth, tourism, intercultural dialogue and creative industries which are all fields of action important for the European integration process of the Western Balkans.