The contributions of the special guests of the high-level conference at the European Parliament
We continue our focus on the high-level conference Cultural Heritage in Europe: linking past and the future that took place at the European Parliament’s Parliamentary House in Brussels, organized June 26, 2018. After the report of the whole afternoon and the speech by President Antonio Tajani followed by a brief speech by the President of the European Commission Juncker, it is time to analyze some of the main contributions of the special guests involved.
The first to intervene is Frenchman Jean-Michel Jarre, composer, musician and producer. He points out how the word heritage, although it may seem like a dusty term, is instead very dynamic in its incessant evolution. The Copyright Directive is the heart of the whole issue: the young artists’ future is played on it.
It’s necessary to define a fair, current regulatory framework that responds to social changes and is no longer tied to the rules of the pre-internet era, which protects the creator of the work and not the distributor.
So far, in fact, the value of creation is transferred to the latter, while it is urgent to rebalance the gap, giving the right recognition to the true architect the work, which spreads its art in the world to any advantage in any field of knowledge of all. The copyright is timeless, linked to the content and transferred to the following generations. The creator has always been visionary who imagine the future, innovating and exploring. We must protect him because only by respecting copyright do we respect his work.
On the contrary, by weakening cultural heritage we weaken the territory. The creators of the whole world, he ends, look to Europe to understand what will happen to copyright; the EU is obliged not to lose this important battle.
The Argentine-Israeli Daniel Barenboim, pianist and director, highlights the serious threats that weigh on our culture, homogenized by globalization. Nationaism is not the answer, as it provides for the exclusion of others; on the contrary, if you are sure of yourself, you can work together towards universality, towards the idea of a shared culture. He underlines that as a musician, he spent a lifetime understanding other cultures, which is beautiful and he is conscious that differences allow us to appreciate vibrant cultures. Music, for example, is one of the best ways to promote children’s emotional development. Giving value to art and culture, and therefore to creators by recording their work, is a concrete way to link past and future and ensure sustainability for the generations to come, preventing it from being irremediably lost. An open and peaceful cultural diversity is the only way to progress and in this sense, the EU must find values of sharing.
The German Petra Kammerevert, Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament, focuses on the fact that the year of heritage deserves the European appellation, because beyond the national and linguistic borders, intent to underline the cultural glue. However, we do not have to consider culture as a panacea for all problems; we do not have to instrumentalize it. There is a strong difference between nationalism and patriotism; indeed, culture is an inexhaustible source of opportunity.
The visit to a museum or the attendance of a theatrical show for a student must be a real educational and training moment, not a way to skip a lesson at school. Diversity, the core of the European model, serves to work together to enrich each other and continuously through the exchange of experiences.
Roumen Dimitrov, Deputy Minister of Culture of Bulgaria, focuses on cultural heritage as one of the main achievements of our identity, capable of broadening our horizons and transmitting sustainable messages. The global crisis is not just a union of money and politics, but also a sharing of values, a sense of belonging and citizenship. Therefore, it is essential to develop a strategic solution to use all the opportunities for our assets to advance through economic activity. In fact, we can achieve harmonious cooperation only through multilevel involvement.
The Hungarian Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, clarifies how we should use this year as a catalyst to revitalize our European identity and draw up an action plan to define a roadmap in line with the principle of commitment, sustainability, combating illicit trafficking in cultural goods. It highlights the focal importance of the Creative Europe program to stimulate competitiveness and innovation because:
Hearts are hardening, culture helps us to understand what we have in common beyond the emotional contract.
The German Monika Grütters, Minister, Commissioner of the Federal Government for Culture and Media, explains how the EU manifests itself in cultural heritage, in music, in museums; making Europe’s cultural heritage accessible becomes fundamental to rediscover the cultural soul of our continent in every age, but also the vanguard itself. Moreover, this is why the EU plans 70 different projects throughout more than 100 different locations. The greater understanding of our common roots, the awareness of memory, listening to the voices and needs of others serves to strengthen the democratic commitment of a Europe that only in this manner can build its future.
Lydia Koniordou, the Greek Minister of Culture and Sports, points out that we are at a crossroads, we have perhaps said goodbye to the world that we knew and we are at a time of junction. Some of the works that we still admire were born during dark times for humanity, the same ones we are living today; ours is a nebulous future, but full of challenges and possibilities to be creative. We are all part of a unicum, but intolerances, mistrust, disappointments, should not block us. We need to recover our cultural jewels to balance the new cultural developments, because heritage should not be lost under the noise of nonsense. We are obliged to preserve the teachings of the sages that preceded us. For this reason, culture must be the compass that shows us the route along which to guide our ship towards a growth for all humanity, revitalized. Resisting united, supportive, hospitable, brothers connected globally.
Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Minister of Croatian Culture, reiterates how we all are tired of the crisis and the issues that divide the Member States, which sometimes, create dissonances even within the same country. Welcoming is the fact that the projects promoted by the EU are often invisible to the communities, that on the contrary, have to know them in order to take advantage of the various benefits granted. Precisely for this reason, it is necessary to collaborate at various levels, also through dissemination activities by the press.
Dace Melbārde, Minister of Latvian Culture, delights us instead with a concrete demonstration of one of the cornerstones of the cultural heritage of her country. Dressed in a period costume, she first sings a popular song and then explains its meaning: the story of a woman who has chosen a high place to talk and be heard by as many people as possible. It also emphasizes the social and anthropological value of the popular song in Latvia, the existence of a festival celebrating the traditional songs that will take place from next Sunday. She also explains the strong symbolism inherent in the texts and dances, expression of national identity, and explaining how it was an important instrument of non-violent resistance during the Russian occupation.
The Italian Silvia Costa, President of the Commission for Culture and Education, comments on the fact that the recognition of Europe in the world is given by art, culture, spirituality, architecture, music, literature, theater, and cinema that give a sense of belonging and can re-establish a Europeanism more aware. The best cultural and landscape heritage demonstrates the EU’s motto for its deeply human and universal significance, transferred, even through tragedies and divisions from generation to generation. He stresses, therefore, that the invited guests will help to explain this intimate link between cultural heritage and European sense of belonging, starting from different experiences, roles and countries.
At this point, Costa introduces the ingenious Maestro Ezio Bosso. We do not go further in our report, because the talented Artist deserves a separate focus.