Martin Schulz: ‘Presseurop’s role is essential’
10 December 2013
With Presseurop set to close on December 20, the European Parliament President deplores the European Commission’s decision not to renew the project's funding, highlighting Presseurop’s essential role in informing Europe's people ahead of the May 2014 European elections.
The idea of Europe is a great one, but Europe is currently suffering. Europeans are hungry for news, but media outlets are closing. European citizens do not have sufficient information about Europe, and yet at the same time websites that address this deficiency and feed the debate about European issues are disappearing.
This is the sad fate that now appears to be awaiting Presseurop. Founded in 2009, this innovative site has successfully established itself as a respected source of European news on the web. Available in 10 languages and thus accessible to more than 85 per cent of European citizens, it enables its readers to tune in to the heartbeat of the European and global press. Focused on challenges facing Europe and on EU affairs, Presseurop is not a servile mouthpiece for European institutions but a provider of news and critical analysis, which are both accessible and objective.
Thanks to an innovative system of automatic translation, the website has even made it possible for Europeans to exchange their views in 10 languages, and as a result, in the space of a few years has become a hub for transnational discussion. Imagine that. It has enabled the great majority of Europeans to discuss issues of common concern in their own languages and to be understood by all. In so doing, Presseurop has realised a European dream!
There is never a right moment for a media outlet to close, but the context in which Presseurop is set to shut is particularly sensitive. With six months left to run before the European elections – elections that parties hostile to European values plan to misrepresent – the disappearance of a pan-European media outlet is very bad news. Very bad news for our fellow citizens who seek information and debate on the European project, and for young people who rely for news on the Internet and social networks, where Presseurop is recognised as a source of record for European affairs. Quite simply, it is very bad news for all defenders of the press. It is also very bad news for our democracy: at a time when European institutions are financing a major campaign to inform citizens and raise awareness of the European elections, these institutions are incapable of giving a hand to a media outlet that aims to provide independent coverage of the vote.
I am not in favour of automatic and unconditional public support for the media. However, in the current context, one of a sustained lack of curiosity and awareness, and of a trans-European public opinion, the role played by Presseurop is essential.
As President of the European Parliament, it is not in my power to amend the European Commission’s decision not to renew funding for Presseurop. It is, however, my duty to thoroughly condemn it. The European Commission should have the heart to protect an independent, pluralist and multilingual press. It should never be responsible for the loss of such a fine pan-European publication.
Come and sign the petition to "Save Presseurop".