On Wednesday 22 April 2020 a delegation of members of the Federation of European Publishers held a video conference with the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel.
European publishers exchanged thoughts with the Commissioner on suggested solutions to address the crisis, first at EU level with a call to better finance the Creative Europe programme (as requested by the Parliament) and including increasing the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility. The Commissioner, supported by the Parliament, is working on opening up other funding programmes such as Horizon Europe, but also by transferring funds from the structural funds such European Fund for Strategic Investments.
Aware that the most urgent support measures will come from the national governments, the publishers asked Mrs Gabriel to encourage Member States to help the sector. They presented some of the solutions they are urgently requesting at national level, such as increased buying of books by libraries from booksellers in order to inject liquidity into the entire book value chain; or providing families with book vouchers to spend in bookshops.
Finally, they asked the Commissioner to give careful consideration to policies in the field of education and research as well as other policies affecting the publishing sector. Veerle De Laet (Managing Director of Leuven University Press) emphasised that the role of publishers is crucial to ensure high quality knowledge dissemination, accurate information and responsible entertainment. For this to continue, urgent support from the EU and the national governments is required, as well as sustainable policies in the field of open access.
The press release of FEP on the occasion of this meeting can be consulted here.