What's next for the European cultural and creative sector? EIBF director Julie Belgrado spotlights the priorities for the bookselling sector within the context of the EU's upcoming Work Plan for Culture 2023-26

On 29 June 2022, the European Commission published its report on the Work Plan for Culture 2019-22 in the EU. The Work Plan for Culture is a plan that helps steer Member States’ four-year collective strategy to support the needs and priorities of the cultural and creative sectors.

The new report gives a positive assessment on the plan implementation for the past four years and lists the Commission’s identified priorities in the field of culture for the years ahead. Among those are enduring priorities, such as challenges and opportunities of the digital transformation and the relationship between culture and sustainability. However, new ones are also identified, namely the recovery and resilience of the cultural and creative sectors after the COVID-19 pandemic and broadening access to culture and creativity to people with disabilities. 

As the implementation of the current Work Plan 2019-2022 is coming to an end this year, the preparations for the Work Plan for the 2023-2026 period have begun.

Earlier this year, the French Presidency initiated the conversation with stakeholders from the cultural and creative sectors to assess the challenges and priorities for the following four-year cycle. However, it will be up to the Czech and Swedish Presidencies to adopt the next Work Plan and come up with an efficient political response.

In this context, EIBF has been invited to join and feed into the ongoing discussion, spotlighting the priorities for the bookselling sector in the years to come, particularly within the framework of the Creative Europe programme.

While the dialogue is still ongoing, EIBF has already identified some priorities and opportunities for development for the bookselling sector, which can contribute to the Work Plan for 2023-2026. For instance, many booksellers call for measures to facilitate and encourage reading promotion among children and younger generations. In that process, booksellers and bookshops should be recognised as valuable resources to stimulate and promote reading.

Reflecting on the upcoming plan and on booksellers’ priorities, EIBF Director Julie Belgrado said: “The pandemic showed us that many people went back to reading, new readers came along and book sales, overall, went up. Our work ahead is to ensure those readers continue visiting bookshops and to keep newfound readers engaged. Through the Creative Europe Programme, we can facilitate the creation and distribution of European content that is accessible and meets the demands of today's readers.”