Brussels, 2 June 2020. European Writers and Translators call on all decision makers for an overall political commitment to culture and a system update of the book world. The EWC recommends 37
proposed measures to support authors, the diversity of literature and the book value chain during and after the Covid-19 crisis.
Based on the European Writers’ Council survey “The Economic Impact of Covid-19 on Writers and Translators in the European Book Sector”, collected in 24 countries, the consequences for authors – the origin of the book value chain – are very serious and will directly threaten the diversity of European literature and erode the entire book market, a most important sector in Europe’s third largest economy, if no immediate action is taken.
In every crisis there is an opportunity – if we take it. The crisis has identified the predetermined breaking points of the book world, which have now become overly clear, as are the matters of low remuneration and weak contractual agreements, or of the high dependence on live events, or the digital exploitation of authors’ works and the resulting low share of financial benefits. The crisis revealed the helplessly tolerated dependencies on distribution monopolies, and the lack in legal, cultural and market policy.
It is time to commit to a system update, to correct these various deficiencies that are now threatening the existence of writers and translators, the backbone of most valued European ideals: diversity and freedom of expression, fact-based knowledge and pluralism, emotional, intellectual and cultural identification, innovation in thinking and imagining new – and sometimes better – worlds.
These ideals and the support of writers and translators are no luxury good. A sustainable Europe, in its struggle against fake news and extreme tendencies, and its hopes for togetherness and exchange, must ensure that the intellectual sources of knowledge and also of human education do not dry up –because every innovation, every development, every reconstruction after a crisis, begins with an author.
With this in mind, the Member Organisations of the European Writers’ Council urge decision-makers to act promptly and decisively in favour of writers and translators:
Only the cooperation among copyright policy, cultural policy, economic policy and regional development can contribute to the substantial protection and innovative capacity of the entire cultural landscape of Europe during and after the present crisis.
To support decision makers in this task, the EWC has compiled 37 recommendations in the study for short-, medium- and long-term measures to support authors. A selection:
The European Writers’ Council, representing 160,000 professional writers and translators from 46 organisations and 30 countries, therefore calls on the Members of the European Parliament, the decision-makers of the European Commission, the EU Member States, and the Governments of Non-EU and the EAA countries, to act speedily and decisively across departments in horizontal frameworks to preserve and reconstruct the European diversity of literature and culture during and after the Covid-19 crisis. Its consequences must be transformed into a fair and sustainable new beginning.
Nina George Myriam Diocaretz