This piece is part of a series dedicated to the latest Young Publishing Professionals in Brussels event (YPPiB), taking place on 14th to 16th June 2022. Participants in the YPPiB initiative have the opportunity to visit Brussels and learn more about the European Book sector through activities such as: meetings with representatives of European institutions, dedicated workshopping and networking sessions, meetings with members of the European Parliament, and overall, the chance to confront and network with practitioners from all over Europe.
On 14, 15, and 16 June 2022, with the support of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, and within the framework of Creative Europe project Aldus Up, the Federation of European Publishers welcomed thirteen young publishers for the second edition of the Young Publishing Professionals in Brussels (YPPiB) Programme. The participants reached Brussels from 10 different countries, including two guests from Ukraine: Olena Odynoka from the Ukrainian Book Institute (UBI) and Kateryna Malko, managing editor at Laboratory Publishing House.
The event featured meetings with members of FEP and with its Brussels team, encounters with representatives of European institutions, sessions on FEP’s EU-funded projects, debates on sustainability in the publishing sector, visits to the European Parliament, and meetings with MEPs from the publishers’ respective countries. A jam-packed programme which offered a rich overview of the European publishing environment to a young international crowd united by their European identity!
Day 1. Policy and sustainability for European publishing.
FEP president (at the time of the event) Peter Kraus vom Cleff
After FEP President (at the time of the event) Peter Kraus vom Cleff’s welcome, the programme began with two presentations on the policy and support landscape for publishers in Europe. Gianpaolo Scacco, Cultural Policy Officer at the Directorate General Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC), covered the policy framework affecting the publishing sector in Europe. Arnaud Pasquali, Programme Manager for Book sector, cooperation with the European Education and Culture Executive Agency on programme implementation and development, also from DG EAC, gave an overview of relevant schemes and actions within EU support programmes. Afterwards, the Young Professionals took part in a session on Horizon202 project Möbius – The power of prosumers in publishing (mobius-project.eu).
Later, the Young Professionals worked on sustainability in the publishing sector. They showed great interest in the topic and exemplified the commitment of the publishing sector for improvements towards ever more sustainable practices. The participants debated their approaches to sustainability and discussed cutting-edge models, while also weighting on the pros and cons of adoption depending on the nature and context of different publishing houses.
After the session, the young publishers had the possibility to exchange views with Iban García del Blanco (Spanish Socialist MEP) and Benjamin Feyen (Secretary General of the Cultural Creators Friendship Group of the European Parliament).
Ypp @ Bozar
Day 2 – Publishing in Ukraine and a visit to the European Parliament
Olena Odynoka from UBI
Kateryna Malko from Laboratory publishing house
The second day began at FEP’s offices with the Ukrainian guests describing their present struggles. Kateryna Malko, from Laboratory publishing house arrived from Kyiv and described the dramatic impact of the war on her life and work. Her company’s priorities switched to simply one: saving the team. The publishing house launched an open call for Ukrainian writers of all genres to cover the war and its impact on the country, away from their usual focus on foreign fiction.
Olena Odynoka, Head of the Department of Internal Cooperation at the Ukrainian Book Institute (UBI) described how UBI kept fighting on the cultural front, developing projects, and sharing its experience to support the Ukrainian book sector. With the help of FEP, in March they started the crowdfunding campaign Books without borders, with the goal of printing Ukrainian children’s books to donate to refugees across Europe. Before the invasion, UBI was already active in a translation support programme to give more visibility to translators, a programme now developing worldwide. Finally, in partnership with FEP and other European Publishers Associations, UBI submitted a proposal for a Creative Europe project called Tales of EUkraine, dedicated to the printing and distribution of bilingual children’s books to distribute in countries hosting Ukrainian refugees.
Visiting the European Parliament
YPP with Commissioner Breton @ European Parliament
YPP @European Parliament Hemicycle
After these contributions, the Young Professionals visited the European Parliament, including the Parliament Hemicycle, and a attended a presentation on the activities of the institution. Afterwards, they joined a session of the Culture and Education (CULT) committee, which saw the participation of Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton. The CULT meeting represented an opportunity for the publishers to observe how European institutions work from the inside.
During the opening remarks, Mrs Sabine Verheyen, Chair of CULT, with Commissioner Breton, welcomed the young publishers attending the meeting. Among the topics of the meeting: the implementation of the Creative Europe Programme, especially in the media sector; actions in support of Ukraine; the online regulation of platforms and content, especially concerning the DSA; and the status of the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA).
During the meeting Commissioner Breton mentioned the role of platforms against disinformation and presented aspects of the proposal to establish common standards on transparency, pluralism and equity in the Single Media Market. He mentioned the launch of Mediainvest, a financial tool with investments totalling € 400 million to stimulate capital investment in media and audiovisual companies and copyright and pointed out that he sent reasoned opinions to 13 Member States lagging behind on the implementation of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single market. He dialogued with MEPs regarding Article 18 and the struggle to secure talents against platforms, as well as the issue of media ownership concentration in regard to freedom of speech.
After the CULT Committee meeting, some of the publishers met with MEPs from their respective countries, to introduce themselves and exchange views on relevant matters. To conclude the two-day event, the participants had another networking opportunity, meeting Julie Belgrado (Director of the European and International Booksellers Federation), Thomasin Cinnery (Zeitgeist Agency), Barbara Gessler (Head of Unit for Creative Europe), MEP Bernard Guetta (Renew Europe), an assistant to MEP Anne Sanders (EPP) and Haska Shyyan (Ukrainian writer, EUPL laureate in 2019).