Religious heritage central to European culture and identity, The Committee of the Regions states in an opinion

BRUSSELS – Future for Religious Heritage (FRH) welcomes a landmark opinion approved by the Committe of the Regions on Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe”.

During the last plenary session, on 16 April 2015, the Committee of the Regions recognized the importance of religious heritage by approving an amendment to the Opinion and it agreed with the reason that: “Religious heritage is one of the pillars of European culture and identity. It is the largest “museum” in Europe and covers every corner of the continent”.

FRH believes that this is very important, not just to celebrate and affirm the religious heritage as a priority critical to Europe’s future, but also because the European religious heritage generates an unique local value. According to the European Committee of the Regions’ view, it is now vitally important to create synergies between sustainable tourism strategies and local and regional cultural and creative industries, so as to support economic growth and job creation and facilitate access to culture.The Committe’s opinion is in line with the opinion of the European citizens as stated in a poll conducted in 2014 by Future for Religious Heritage. According to this survey 4 out of 5 Europeans think that religious buildings are essential for community life, and want them used more widely.

FRH welcomes the Committee’s acknowledgment. At the same time the FRH Council whishes to thank the entire Committe of the Regions, the Rapporteur, Mrs Cristina Mazas Pérez Oleaga, Minister for Economic Affairs, Taxation and Employment, Autonomous Community of Cantabria, and all the members involved in the amendment discussion.

The approved amendment (number 6, point 11) “stresses that local cultural values – artistic, literary, audiovisual and architectural creation, creative work, contemporary culture, crafts, folklore, archaeological, historical, religious and ethnographic heritage, dialects, music, food and gastronomy, countryside and natural features, traditional expertise and knowledge, know-how, living traditions, etc. – are all closely linked to identity, which is rooted in the tangible, intangible and natural heritage of communities. The Committee would point out that developing culture at local level strengthens local identity and distinctiveness, in that cultural products created in this way generate unique local value. These cultural factors are also important at European level”.

The final Opinion

The amendments

The Poll: “Secular Europe backs religious heritage”