ESLI Begins Brussels Journey in New Office

On 5 September 2016 as the European Parliament reconvened its work in Brussels, ESLI opened its office in the capital of the European Union in response to ESLI’s increasing cooperation with the European Parliament and the European Commission.

When working on issues involving restorative justice and the restitution of immovable property, ESLI cooperates with a number of other organizations and is currently in the process of creating a coalition of organisations that will include the World Jewish Restitution Organization, B’NAI B’RITH International, and the European Jewish Congress, among others. ESLI has also started to work with the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) for the inclusion of information on post-Holocaust restitution into an annual report of fundamental rights, as well as lobbying for a motion for a resolution on the importance of restitution to restorative justice and its impact on reconciliation. It is ESLI’s assertion that only through a united effort can we be successful in restoring justice after one of the most horrible crimes in modern European history – the Holocaust.

ESLI is also currently working on issues regarding provenance research and cultural heritage protection, and has enjoyed a number of recent breakthroughs in its collaboration with the European institutions. These successes include securing a commitment from the European Commission for the allocation of up to 650,000 EUR for the provision of provenance research training to relevant professionals and the commissioning of a report on these issues by the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI), entitled ‘Cross-border restitution claims of art looted in armed conflicts and wars and alternatives to court litigations.’

On 20th September, ESLI will meet with diplomats, MEPs, the European Jewish Congress, the World Jewish Restitution Organization, and B’NAI B’RITH at the Israeli Embassy in Brussels to work on organizing an international conference on the importance of restitution to restorative justice.

ESLI also looks forward to continuing its close cooperation with the JURI Committee towards the formal appointment of a Rapporteur and on developing a strategy for continuing progress on its legislative initiative on cultural heritage protection.

Finally, ESLI will be meeting with representatives of the Directorate General for Culture, Youth and Sports of the European Commission to discuss the allocation of EU funding of up to 650,000 EUR  for promoting provenance research across the European Union.