Figel' launches landmark process for cultural heritage in the Western Balkans

EU - Midday Express
May 13, 2008

Figel' launches landmark process for cultural heritage in the Western Balkans

Brussels, 13 May 2008

Figel' launches landmark process for cultural heritage in the Western
The “Ljubljana Process – Funding Heritage Rehabilitation in
South-East Europe” was launched today by Commissioner Figel' in the
Slovenian capital. The joint initiative of the European Commission and
the Council of Europe will ensure funding for a significant number of
cultural heritage projects in the Western Balkans region and foster the
adoption of sustainable funding strategies for them. The global
investment necessary for the 26 “Consolidated Projects” identified
so far in the region is estimated at around 50 million.
The Ljubljana Process initiative is being announced at a conference
"New Paradigms, New Models – Culture in the EU External Relations"
organised on the 13-15 May under the Slovenian Presidency of the EU. In
his opening address, the European Commissioner for Education, Training,
Culture and Youth, Ján Figel' emphasised that "our action in the Western
Balkans is a testimony of our ongoing endeavours to valorise emblematic
heritage sites in the area, in order to build bridges between the
various ethnic and religious communities within and throughout the
countries of the region, thereby fostering reconciliation, cultural
diversity and intercultural dialogue in this part of Europe."

The Ljubljana Process is part of a long-term common effort of both the
Council of Europe and the European Commission in the broader context of
the European Union Enlargement process. It will concentrate on
mobilising national and international funding for the cultural heritage
in the Western Balkans region with a view to encouraging future public
and private investments. The European Commission is building on its
involvement in this sector so far, which has amounted in the period 2003
to 2008 to over  1 million through the EU's Culture Programme, and over
14 million through the Enlargement process. As part of its enlargement
policy, the Commission has pledged an additional funding contribution
for the restoration of one consolidated cultural heritage project in
each country of the Western Balkans.

It is expected that the event in Ljubljana will be the starting point
of a Strategic Fund-Raising Campaign (2008-10) which will secure funding
from private and public donors for all the cultural heritage sites
identified so far.

Background Information

Since 2003, the Council of Europe and the European Commission have been
successfully implementing a joint action called "the Integrated
Rehabilitation Project Plan / Survey of the Architectural and
Archaeological Heritage (IRPP/SAAH) in the countries of South-East

This joint action complies with the European Commission Communication
on the Western Balkans that promotes regional co-operation. It
encourages regional reconciliation and the intensification of cultural
relations between South-East Europe and the European institutions.

The beneficiaries of this joint action are the participants in the
Council of Europe’s Regional Programme for Cultural and Natural
Heritage in South East Europe (RPSEE): Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo[1], Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and the
former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

In this context, a Priority Intervention List (PIL) has been
successfully established, which elaborates an innovative project
management methodology. The PIL includes 186 significant historical
buildings and cultural heritage sites that require further planning and
investment with a view to conservation, restoration, appropriate
rehabilitation as well as long-term sustainability.

Among the PILs, 26 “Consolidated Projects” have been selected by
national authorities after taking into consideration the quality of the
rehabilitation process carried out so far, their symbolic, historical
and cultural value, and the economic potential of the project. These
achievements pave the way for the project's partners to progress towards
a new phase.





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