The New European Heritage Label

Labour Party

Today the European Parliament voted through a report that will establish a blue plaque system for sites of European historical significance.  The idea is to create a better understanding of our shared history within the European Union. 

Sites will be selected for their symbolic rather than aesthetic value, and must have links with key European events or personalities.  One of the potential sites in the U.K. that has been discussed so far is Bletchley Park, the site of the British efforts to break the Nazi codes during the Second World War. 

The scheme will be entirely voluntary for member states, with each being able to select a maximum of two sites to be considered per year. Only one, at most, will ultimately be granted the label.

During the debate before the vote today I spoke in favour of the bill.  I believe there are a number of advantages to the scheme in my opinion.  Firstly, it is very cheap, costing the EU very little and almost nothing for the individual member states, literally nothing if they choose not to participate.  Secondly, I think it’s important for us to gain a better understanding of our shared history; the events and people that made Europe what it is today.  I look forward to seeing the first sites submitted for consideration, I think it could be very interesting.

I would like to congratulate my fellow S&D colleague, Chrysoula Paliadeli, who was the rapporteur and has worked very hard to produce an excellent and constructive report.