The 3rd meeting of the Friends of the Protection of Cultural Heritage Network was held on 13 January 2023 at our Permanent Representation.
At the meeting, Hungary presented the conclusions of the High Level Round Table Conference of 19 September 2022 and outlined the tasks for the coming period as well as provided information on the future events. In particular, we highlighted the need to improve cooperation and information exchange between EU institutions and Member States, as well as between relevant organisations (agencies, UNESCO, academia (e.g. EUISS)), to put more emphasis on simplifying access to financial resources and to improve coordination between Member States and agencies. This will allow, on the one hand, to avoid overlaps and, on the other hand, implementing more actions and projects by concentrating resources.
The EEAS provided information on the links between cultural diplomacy and the protection of cultural heritage. Based on the experience of the Czech presidency, it was underlined that the protection of cultural heritage is a complex area due to its horizontal nature, therefore it is important to strengthen and expand the functioning of the Network. UNESCO presented its ongoing projects, in particular its ongoing plans in Ukraine. In this context, it was an important finding of the meeting that the EU can for the first time respond to an ongoing conflict from the protection of cultural heritage point of view, which will allow to learn new methodism, lessons and practices. DG Justice and Home Affairs presented the new EU Action Plan to combat illegal trafficking of cultural goods, which will be adopted for the first time. The EUISS (European Union Institute for Security Studies) assessed the protection of cultural heritage from the point of view of academics, an important conclusion being that the work of the Network, which was launched on the initiative of Hungary, is also of great interest to academia.
The Member States participating in the Network meeting (Austria, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg) have actively supported its work.