This chapter examines the protection of cultural heritage in Europe. Within Europe, the Council of Europe (CoE) and the European Union (EU) have played a central role in supporting, coordinating, and supplementing domestic initiatives in the cultural field. Both organizations arose out of the devastation of the two world wars and the determination of key European leaders to put in place systems of cooperation that would prevent further armed conflict, yet only one had an explicit cultural remit. This chapter explores the evolving structures and powers of the two institutions and the initiatives they have taken to preserve and enhance cultural heritage. Though the EU is an increasingly confident player in the cultural field at both international and European levels, the CoE’s wider membership and extensive experience means that it is likely to play a pivotal role in shaping cultural policy at the regional level well into the future.
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