Sophie Hüglin & Jean-Olivier Gransard-Desmond (Chairs of the Political Strategies Community -PSC)
The next European Parliament election will take place in 2024. Several EAA Communities have agreed to cooperate in producing election benchmarks on archaeology and heritage protection.
During election campaigns, benchmarks are a highly effective way to make politicians and political parties aware of archaeology and heritage protection. Before the election date, parties represented in the current EU Parliament are asked for statements regarding a set of burning questions. Their answers are widely published and especially made available to voters with an interest in archaeology in order to aid them with their decision in the voting booth. After the election, these self-set benchmarks will help to hold politicians accountable for the actions that they promised to take while on campaign.
Already for the last EU election in 2019, a set of questions was prepared and sent out to politicians. At the EAA Community Assembly in Budapest it was decided to repeat this project and work on topics for 2024. Under the coordination of the Political Strategies Community, the benchmark project is already well underway. However, it is still open to archaeologists and heritage professionals who would like to get engaged, either with the formulation of topics or on a national level when the political parties are being contacted and evaluations produced.
The project has three phases – 1) rewriting texts, 2) contacting politicians and finally 3) evaluating and redistributing the answers. Currently, we are in phase one. The 2019-2024 benchmarks will be revised and updated up until September. To this end, we meet monthly and discuss the following topics:
a) Protecting Historic Landscapes in Planning Processes
b) Integrating Cultural Heritage in EU Common Agricultural Policy
c) Preventing Illicit Trade in Antiquities (revised)
d) Facilitating Transnational Mobility (revised)
e) Open Licensing for Images of Cultural Heritage from Public & Non-profit Institutions
Together with the relevant Communities and experts within the EAA, we look forward five years from the current situation and discuss proposals to drop old topics and take up new ones. For example, with the help of the Community for Climate Change & Heritage (CCH) we will integrate measures mitigating climate change into topic a) Protecting Historic Landscapes in Planning Processes.
Last time the benchmarks were sent in English to political groups on the EU level and – after being translated into the respective national languages – these were then disseminated to national parties with seats in the European Parliament. With the help of engaged EAA members, we were able to reach out to politicians and the public in Austria, Germany, Lithuania, and Spain. This time we intend to extend the number of EU member states and are looking for individuals who would take on translation and formal communication with national political parties.
If you are interested in contributing to the benchmark project, please subscribe to the Political Strategies Community or contact the authors. We meet online every first Monday of the month at 18:30 CET on the platform https://meet.jit.si/EEA_PSC_Meetings. The next meeting dates will be February 6, March 6, and April 3, when we will discuss topics a), b) and e). At the PSC meeting and the Community Assembly in Belfast on August 30, we will present the benchmarks for 2024-2029 and start the second phase of the project in which political groups and parties will be contacted. We hope that you will join us.
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