“If Europe had to be rebuilt, we would start with culture”
The Regional Governor of Attica, Ms Rena Dourou praised the role of culture as a means of addressing the rise of the extreme right, in the meeting of the Current Affairs Committee of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, in Stuttgart, on Friday 28 June 2019. “Today we are faced with the dreaded Hydra of the right-wing, racism and xenophobia in Europe. Perhaps the best antidote might be the cultural heritage of its peoples, as a tool for Knowledge, which is the cornerstone of Democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, i.e. the fundamental principles of the Council of Europe, now being more relevant than ever,” stressed the Regional Governor of Attica. In this context, Ms Rena Dourou quoted the famous phrase attributed to Jean Monnet, one of the Founding Fathers of the European Union, “Si c'était à refaire, je commencerais par la culture – Ifit were to be done again, I would begin with culture”.
In particular, the Regional Governor of Attica, in cooperation with the Congress Vice-President Barbara Toce (Italy, SOC), has recommended that the Current Affairs Committee should draw up a Report on the role of Local and Regional authorities with regard to the protection, promotion and enhancement of Europe’s cultural heritage, so that it can act as a catalyst at the current European time — “a time marked by the rise of the right-wing, xenophobia and racism in Europe against the current backdrop of the migrant/refugee crisis”, as Ms Rena Dourou said. The Regional Governor of Attica explained that Local and Regional Authorities need to be able to respond to the “cultural challenge”. “In this respect, Regional and Local Authorities can make a decisive contribution by playing a key role in preserving, protecting and enhancing cultural heritage as a tool for tackling effectively the dreaded Hydra of the right-wing and racism”.
The meeting was devoted to the finalisation of the ongoing Reports on the role of Local and Regional Authorities in enhancing young people’s participation in public life, the protection of internally displaced persons (IDPs), etc. Furthermore, the Current Affairs Committee of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe proceeded with the programming of the next Reports.