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ILAB admitted to European Commission working group on “Dialogue with the Art Market”

The European Commission has accepted ILAB's candidacy to become a member of the newly created working group on “Dialogue with the art market”, a subgroup of the expert group of the commission on cultural heritage.
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Following a call for applications from the European Commission in June 2023 (more information below) to art market representatives/organisations within the EU territory, ILAB applied to become a member of a newly created working group on "Dialogue with the Art Market". This call for applications follows many years of lobbying and petitioning by organisations and individuals to the authorities to create consultation opportunities with art market representatives BEFORE legislation is developed and ratified at EU level.

ILAB had the opportunity to apply as a "Type C" member and nominate a representative.
The application of Angelika Elstner, ILAB Executive Secretary, was accepted in September 2023, and ILAB is now fully registered with the European Commission: >> LINK TO EU TRANSPARENCY REGISTER

The tasks of the working group are:

  • to exchange information between the Commission and stakeholders operating in the area of trading in cultural goods on questions relating to the development of international, European and national legislations, programmes and policies related to the protection and trade of cultural goods in the single market;
  • whenever appropriate, to provide the Commission with experts reports, opinions and analysis regarding to EU legislation, EU funding programmes and policies related to the protection and trade of cultural goods in the single market;
  • to bring about an exchange of experience and good practices implemented by the art market participants and other relevant bodies related to the protection and trade of cultural goods in the single market.

Communication by the European Commission Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture - Culture, Creativity and Sport / Cultural Policy
Brussels, 1 June 2023



In the Communication on the Action Plan against trafficking of cultural goods adopted on 13 December 2022, the European Commission proposes a list of activities aiming to curb trafficking in cultural objects. The action plan focuses on four strategic objectives, for an effective and comprehensive response. The first of these objectives aims to improve prevention and detection of crimes by market participants and cultural heritage institutions. The following three objectives focus on strengthening of the enforcement authorities capacities, external cooperation on the matter and raising awareness amongst the wider public.

When it comes to the first objective, the Action Plan recognises that the art market players, collectors and cultural heritage institutions can help to prevent and detect crime related to cultural goods. This is because they are at particular risk of coming across trafficked cultural goods or of becoming victims of property crime. The Action Plan underlines that it is essential that these stakeholders know the applicable legislation and other non-legislative tools that aim to prevent and detect such crimes. On the other hand, it is also important that the Commission is aware of the challenges that the market participants may face while implementing these rules.

Therefore, the Action Plan announces the launch of a dialogue with the art market, in close cooperation with UNESCO, on the issues related to the protection and trade of cultural goods in the single market.

With a view to providing a transparent framework for this dialogue, the Directorate-General for Education, Sports, Youth and Culture (DG EAC) of the European Commission has taken the initiative to set up a working group on dialogue with the art market as a sub-group to the Commission expert group ‘Cultural Heritage Forum’. The sub-group shall report to the Cultural Heritage Forum.

The sub-group will be a platform for exchange of information on policies, actions and legislation related to the protection and commercial transactions in cultural goods in the single market.

The ILAB Committee and the presidents of the national associations, who met in Stockholm in September 2023, fully support this initiative and welcome the opportunity for a representative of the international rare book trade to express booksellers' views on pending legislation and best practice in the trade directly in Brussels at the source of policy development.
ILAB will keep the presidents of the national associations regularly informed of developments in the working group and will consult ILAB affiliates and associations as necessary.
Angelika Elstner will attend the first round of meetings in Brussels on 18 and 19 December 2023.