Archaeology and cultural heritage are typically perceived as a national issue, but taking into account the open borders and other aspects of the EU common policy, many issues relevant to cultural heritage are important not only at national but also at EU level. Therefore, in view of the European Parliament elections, the European Association of Archaeologists has developed a document entitled "Benchmarks for Archaeology and Heritage Protection 2019-2024”. The document covers topics important for coordination and/ or dealing with at EU level. This year, when it comes to choosing which party to vote for in the European Parliament elections, it is important to know the positions of these parties on the protection of cultural heritage and archaeological artefacts in the upcoming European Parliament debates.

The Latvian Archaeological Society sent out the electoral benchmarks to all the parties that have chosen to stand for election to the European Parliament this time. Responses were provided by four candidate parties: the National Alliance "Visu Latvijai!"-"Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/LNNK", Atmoda and Jaunā VIENOTĪBA. A summary of the answers can be found in the table below. The parties – “Latvijas Krievu savienība”, “Latviešu nacionālisti”, “Latvijas Reģionu Apvienība”, “Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība”, “KPV LV”, “PROGRESĪVIE”, “Jaunā Saskaņa”, “Jaunā konservatīvā partija”, “Saskaņa”, “Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā strādnieku partija” - failed to provide answers.



A view on protecting the EU's historical landscape in the context of infrastructure and building development

A view on preserving the historical landscape in the context of agriculture / logging

A position on the issue of ownership of archaeological artefacts

A position on the use of metal detectors in archaeological sites / while looking for archaeological artefacts

A view on how to reduce illegal acquisition and trafficking of artefacts (including counterfeiting)

Position on international archaeologist qualification and mobility

A view on licensing of images of antiquities and historical documents

National Alliance "VisuLatvijai!"-"Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/ LNNK"

We will be pushing for a stricter requirement for feasibility studies for smaller construction projects that may have an impact on archeology. However, we recognize that the procedural elements of different countries may vary

We will propose amendments to the Common Agricultural Policy. The wider definition of landscape, which includes cultural heritage and archeology, will be used

We support the development of a common EU legal framework, introducing stricter rules and tighter controls on private archaeological artefacts.

We support the use of metal detectors for archaeological artefacts only by professional archaeologists and only if a specific license has been issued by the competent authority of a particular EU Member State

At national level, we will continue to strengthen the institutions involved in the protection of antiques and regulation of the market. We will reinforce the existing EU institutions aimed at coordinating the prevention, deterrence and punishment of offenses. We will support research and information on topics related to cultural crime

We will encourage a discussion on the legal definition of an "archaeologist" applicable at EU level

Upon request, free of charge access to images of antiquities, historical documents and plans in public or non-profit collections shall be granted. You may be required to pay for obviously related costs. We will initiate harmonization of laws and practices in all EU countries


General answer

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"Centra partija” We will present and support feasibility studies for any (including small) construction projects that have an impact on archaeological resources We will support the definition of the landscape, which clearly includes the cultural heritage, the historical environment, and the protection of archaeological resources We advocate, as a matter of urgency, a strong and effective EU framework for trade in archaeological artefacts. This is particularly relevant to preventing the use of "ISIL" stolen antiquities in terrorism financing We do believe that only archaeologists can use different types of devices and detectors, including metal, for the research purposes of archaeological sites We will promote the training of staff in responsible institutions in the field of crime against cultural heritage, as well as the appropriate allocation of resources for effective protection of cultural heritage We do believe that European archaeologists should have equal opportunities to work throughout the Union provided that the particular Member State agrees thereto Free licensing of objects, historical documents, and plans in public or non-profit collections should be free of charge in connection with free access to scientific publications. We will initiate the harmonization of laws and practices in the EU countries
“Jaunā VIENOTĪBA” We will broaden the EU Environmental Impact Assessment Directives and limit the scope for removing smaller construction projects from this test We believe that the current EU conventions and national legislation adequately protect the historical landscape. We do not want to associate the common agricultural policy and its instruments with the protection of landscape, archaeological and cultural heritage. We believe that preserving the historical landscape is a national issue We believe that national legislation should be improved so that the entrails of the Earth is a national or communal property. We advocate more vigorous control over archaeological artefacts, but emphasize that the preservation of the universal human heritage cannot take place without public support We agree that presence of a metal detector near a national and local archaeological monument is illegal. However, we believe that the specific limitation of metal detectors will not be sufficiently targeted, as other ground scan tools are available. The general licensing of metal detectors would be a disproportionate interference in private life We believe that the investigation, prosecution and punishment of offenses against illegal acquisition and trafficking of archaeological and other cultural objects is a national competence. We believe that the current practice of the Latvian National Heritage Board with regard to the procedure of designation and protection of national and local cultural heritage has to be radically changed, devoting to it more material resources and promoting the inclusion of relevant elements in university and general education programs We strictly oppose the standardization of EU-level laws, policies and practices in the management of archaeological heritage and leave the study programs to the Latvian universities. We do not support private commercial companies in archeology of other member states in the territory of the Republic of Latvia. We do not support mobility No answer

To get more information on the benchmarks and evaluation of answers please visit: 

To get more detailed answers of the Latvian candidate parties (in Latvian) please visit: 

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