Documents considered by the Committee on 18th November 2016 Contents

13European Year of Cultural Heritage

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Cleared from scrutiny; further information requested

Document details

Proposal for a Decision on a European Year of Cultural Heritage

Legal base

Article 167, TFEU; QMV; Ordinary Legislative Procedure

Department

Culture, Media and Sport

Document Numbers

(38035), 11856/16, COM(16) 543

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

13.1The Commission has proposed that 2018 be designated the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The types of activities envisaged are information and promotion campaigns, events and initiatives at European, national, regional and local levels. They will be funded from existing budgets, particularly the EU’s “Creative Europe” programme.

13.2In her original Explanatory Memorandum, the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, (Tracey Crouch), expressed lukewarm support for the initiative. The Committee pressed the Government on its position, raising the following issues:

13.3The Minister has responded as set out below. In her letter of 2 November, she explains that the Government has engaged with the heritage sector and that the Government is content that the Creative Europe programme is equipped to meet the objectives of the Year. In a further letter, of 15 November, she confirms that the UK will appoint a National Coordinator. She adds that agreement to a General Approach is expected in Council on 22 November and requests that the Committee considers releasing the document from scrutiny, or waiving scrutiny, in order that the Government may give its agreement.

13.4The Minister has resolved the queries raised by the Committee. We are content to release the document from scrutiny ahead of the Council meeting on 22 November. We ask that the Minister provides an update in due course on the outcome of that meeting and on the progress of the document through the European Parliament.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Decision on a European Year of Cultural Heritage: (38035), 11856/16, COM(16) 543.

Background

13.5Both the Council and the European Parliament invited the European Commission to propose a European Year of Cultural Heritage. The Commission states in its proposal that the overall objectives of the initiative shall be to: “encourage and support—notably through the exchange of experience and good practices—the efforts of the Union, the Member States, regional and local authorities to protect, safeguard, re-use, enhance, valorise and promote the European cultural heritage in the European Union (EU)”. Further information on the background to, and content of, the initiative was set out in our Report of 19 October.73

13.6In our Report, we asked the Government for information on three issues:

Minister’s letter of 2 November 2016

13.7The Minister confirmed that the Government has engaged with the heritage sector at both Ministerial and official level and agreed a way forward so that their views are reflected in our approach:

“The Permanent Secretary and Ministers have met the former chair of the Heritage Alliance, Loyd Grossman,74 who believes that the UK contribution to the Year should be sector led, a view which the Government shares. We made clear that there would be no dedicated funding available from the UK Government, but encouraged them to apply for funding from existing sources where appropriate. Historic England, our principal heritage advisory body has also been consulted and agrees with this approach.”

13.8On the appointment of a National Coordinator, the Minister explained that the Government was seeking clarity from the European Commission on what the role and responsibilities would comprise. She added: “The Commission has left it open to interpretation on how member states should proceed with this. When we have secured more clarity in the final text, we will decide how to proceed on this issue”.

13.9On the Creative Europe programme, the Minister confirmed the Government’s view that the programme is equipped to meet the objectives of the Year.

Minister’s letter of 15 November 2016

13.10The Minister wrote again to update the Committee on new information received. On the outstanding point relating to the National Coordinator, she notes: “we have received the final agreed text from the responsible Council Working Group (the Cultural Affairs Committee), and are content with it. As a department we will take on responsibility and appoint a National Coordinator in cooperation with the heritage sector”.

13.11She confirms the Government’s support for the Year: “As outlined in the Explanatory Memorandum, the UK Government will support the year, through its existing work and the badging of heritage events under the logo of the Year”.

13.12Finally, she explains that the Culture Council will be invited to agree to a General Approach at its meeting of 22 November. She asks if the Committee would consider releasing the proposal from scrutiny, or granting a scrutiny waiver, in order that the Government may give its support to the General Approach.

Previous Committee Reports

Thirteenth Report HC 71–xi (2016-17), chapter 1 (19 October 2016).


73 Fourteenth Report HC 71–xii (2016–17), chapter 1 (19 October 2016).

74 Following original publication date of 22 November 2016 the Committee was notified that at the time of the Governments letter and subsequent publication Loyd Grossman held the post of Chair and conducted the meetings in that capacity




21 November 2016