Doc. 9158

3 July 2001

Tax incentives for cultural heritage conservation

Motion for a recommendation

presented by Mr Legendre and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only

the members who have signed it

1.       The cultural heritage has universal significance, but responsibility for the conservation of any particular object or site rests first with the immediate owner. Where necessary that owner should be given whatever support and encouragement the wider community might be able to offer.

2.       Direct public funding is increasingly unavailable for conservation. On the other hand too much cannot be demanded of the private sector. The middle path of fiscal encouragement of heritage conservation is therefore urgently needed.

3.       Fiscal encouragement can be a part of cultural policy and linked to economic development (housing, tourism etc).

4.       Its application may be restricted to specific areas, such as the upkeep of churches in western Europe, or it may be much wider, as for the conservation of de-nationalised historic property in central and eastern Europe.

5.       Tax relief may apply differently to property in public, institutional or private hands. As with direct grants it should carry with it some provision for public access in return.

6.       The management of conservation by fiscal policy should also take account of inheritance rules in an increasingly open European economy.

7.       The Assembly has pressed in the past for fiscal incentives for heritage conservation. The latest European ministerial conference (Portoroz March 2001) made a similar appeal.

8.       The EU is itself currently experimenting with reduced VAT for labour-intensive work and five countries are applying this to buildings. This move towards a cultural exception is to be welcomed.

9.       The conservation lobby is already active in this field and notably Europa Nostra. The tourist and building industries should also be involved.

10.       The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

—       review existing systems for tax relief and fiscal encourageent relating to heritage protection;

—       make outline proposals for ways in which fiscal incentives might be used to encourage heritage protection (survey and maintenance, actual restoration work, inheritance etc) and on a paneuropean level;

—       engage in a direct dialogue with the relevant EU authorities so as to ensure that future EU legislation on VAT includes recognition of heritage protection along with other possible exceptions for the cultural field;

—       give immediate encouragement to member countries that are free to do so to take advantage of fiscal policies to encourage the participation of the private sector in the conservation of the cultural heritage

—       recognise and encourage the role being played by non-governmental organisations in this area.

Signed : 1

Legendre, France, EDG

Billing, Sweden EDG

Birraux, France, EPP/CD

Cherribi, Netherlands, LDR

Cryer, United Kingdom, SOC

Debono Grech, Malta, SOC

Duka-Zólyomi, Slovakia, EPP/CD

Hancock, United Kingdom, LDR

Hegyi, Hungary, SOC

Isohookana-Asunmaa, Finland, LDR

Jäger, Germany, SOC

Kalkan, Turkey, GDE

Kofod-Svendsen, Denmark, EPP/CD

Martelli, Italy, EPP/CD

McNamara, United Kingdom, SOC

O’Hara, United Kingdom, SOC

De Puig, Spain, SOC

Reimann, Switzerland, LDR

Roseta, Portugal, EPP/CD

Stepová, Czech Republic, SOC

Varela i Serra, Spain, LDR

1        SOC: Socialist Group

      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party

      EDG: European Democratic Group

      LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group

      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left

      NR: not registered in a group