We asked the Director of the Federation of European Publishers(FEP), Anne Bergman-Tahon to share what is happening in Europe during COVID19.
FEP keeps busy during this turmoiled period which sees many of its members struggling and advocating for measures to help the sector through the pandemic.
All over Europe or almost, bookshops closed and e-sales did not match the lost revenues. Information sharing is key in these moments so FEP decided to publish a daily for its members to rapidly receive the information of what was happening in various countries, how colleagues were coping with the access to textbooks by students and their teachers, the requests from libraries, how publishers and booksellers were developing solutions to provide citizens with books during the lockdown and for those lucky enough to be in the next phase, how is business resuming.
We inform on a weekly basis the Commission and the Parliament on the impact of the crisis on publishing and we are calling for increased budgets for culture and especially for the book sector, in the EU recovery budget. Together with our members we also developed a catalogue of desired measures to help the book chain and then with our sister organisation representing booksellers (EIBF), we highlighted 10 measures and further developed two more thoroughly; book vouchers for EU citizens and massive public purchases of books for libraries.
While it may have slowed a bit, the EU legislative activities have not stopped and there are several files which we are following closely which includes the Digital Services Act (formerly known as the e-commerce Directive), artificial intelligence and intellectual property and the future Digital Education Action Plan to name just a few, not forgetting the national implementation of the most disputed Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive adopted last year.
Twelve weeks after the beginning of lockdown in Belgium, FEP is still working largely on a delocalised version and will hold its next general assembly on 17 September virtually, a first for the 53 years’ old federation.
One has to adapt to the circumstances. Good luck to all Irish colleagues and hope to see you soon at a book fair maybe?