Doc. 11268
23 April 2007

European Convention on the Protection of Old and Traditional Crafts

Motion for a recommendation
presented by Mr Aligrudić and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

The Assembly, expressing its satisfaction at the fact that, for the first time in the history of the Council of Europe, a draft convention has been elaborated and submitted to the Council by a group of university students, and

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress,

Bearing in mind the European Cultural Convention (signed in Paris on 19 December 1954), and, in particular, Articles 1 and 5 thereof, as well as Recommendation No. R(81)13 of the Committee of Ministers to members states on action in aid of certain declining craft trades in the contexts of craft activity (adopted on 1 July 1981), Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 782 (1982) on craftsmanship (adopted on 30 September 1982), Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 798 (1983) on the “1983 European Year of the small and medium-sized enterprises and craft trades” (adopted on 29 April 1983) and the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (signed in Faro on 27 October 2005),

Being aware that old and traditional crafts, comprising both knowledge and skills which have been developed, conveyed and improved through generations, and the products that are the fruit of such knowledge and skills, which have also been developed and safeguarded over centuries, represent an integral and significant part of the overall spiritual and cultural heritage of each particular nation, the whole of Europe and all of mankind,

Confident that the importance of the above-mentioned knowledge and skills and the products thereof by far exceed their day-to-day practical application and that they are of an exceptional cultural and often artistic value, thus representing an invaluable testimony to the lifestyle, customs, needs, views and the overall spirituality of a nation in various epochs, as well as to the cultural links between different nations,

Recognising the fact that the progress of science and technology, especially industrial development, with ever-increasing opportunities for cheap, fast and large-scale production, makes old and traditional crafts insufficiently profitable and, consequently, not attractive enough to be chosen by new generations as their future profession,

Considering the fact that, due to the process described above, numerous old and traditional crafts are facing complete extinction, some of them already being extinct, as well as the fact that the skills that have been acquired and developed through generations are dying out and that the quantity of the preserved products manufactured by application of old and traditional methods is diminishing drastically, especially with regard to the products belonging to earlier epochs, which, owing to their age, are all the more valuable,

Being aware that the dying out of old and traditional crafts cannot be curbed without
co-ordinated action at national and sub-national levels, as well as at the international and particularly European levels,

Confident that the need of their respective nations and of the entire family of European nations, as well as mankind in general, is to preserve old and traditional crafts, both the knowledge and skills incorporated therein and the products of such knowledge and skills,

Being aware of the need for carrying out scientific research and study of the various aspects of old and traditional crafts, and the need to disseminate the knowledge thereabout, which will contribute to their preservation and further development, as well as raise popular awareness of this form of cultural heritage and cultural and national identity,

Convinced that in the past, co-operation in practising the crafts which we now deem old and traditional, and the exchange of and trade in the products of such crafts, contributed to the establishment of cultural and civilisation links between nations, and also that the co-operation in preserving old and traditional crafts and their products can and ought to contribute to the establishment of similar links between new generations,

Recommends that the Committee of Ministers adopt the draft European Convention on the Protection of Old and Traditional Crafts elaborated by students of the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade, members of the Study Group for European Law, and to appoint the Rapporteur on behalf of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education to follow this matter.

Signed 1:

1     SOC: Socialist Group
      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party
      ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
      EDG: European Democratic Group
      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
      NR: not registered in a group