In 2007 a “European Migration Heritage Route” was granted reconnaissance by the Council of Europe under the auspices of the “European Institute for Cultural Routes” (EICR). This project was promoted by an informal association, in which some AEMI-members took an active part by helping to settle a “European Migration Heritage Week” (1st week in October).
In 2009 the Council of Europe issued new requirements for the routes stipulating that each itinerary needs to be legally founded by statutes and independent accounting. This development, exposed to AEMI members at the Genoa annual meeting meant of course the end of the loose organisation described above. It also made clear that a “cultural route” cannot just be a working group within an association. The step had to be made to create a legally founded association with own statutes and budget.
Statutes meeting those of the “European Jewish Heritage Route” have been developed under the legal framework of a Luxembourgish “Association sans but lucratif” (non profit association) see www.cdmh.lu under the topic “itineraries”. The signing procedure is underway and new members – individuals, associations, institutions and cities – are welcome to join the new association. The statutory annual meeting is to be held in April 2013 in a place still to be determined. Negotiations to find a budget for the new association are ongoing. The founding board of the new association works closely with the EICR to reactivate full participation in the routes programme. As discussed with the former president of AEMI the European route will ask for full membership in this association (2013 annual meeting).
The EICR itself changed its legal status and the new team and advisory board clearly are not considering a mere network as a route. Real itineraries (local, regional, transnational) have to be designed, the European route acting as a federation of these projects. Links to examples of good practice can be found at www.cdmh.lu under the topic “itineraries”. Furthermore the concept of “migration heritage” has to be more clearly shaped. The idea of “patrimonialization/ heritagization” of migrations considering heritage as a media of migrant empowerment and reconnaissance is for the moment actively discussed in the European academic sphere. The new association will try to offer platforms to deal with this topic in the forthcoming months (December 2012: Paris; June 2013: Basel), since the “migration heritage route” could be an interesting actor in this field. A second issue will be to re-launch the “European Heritage Week” in October 2014 in order to offer a transnational awareness for migration heritage.