The graphics sector is part of Europe’s critical infrastructure, with printers producing essential products that are needed by the entire European economy. The energy crisis – in addition to the effects of the pandemic and the dramatic increase in paper prices – has left many print shops in dire straits. This will have serious implications for the supply of printed products for all markets. Legislators at national and European level must give more support to our industry. The continued supply of essential products is at stake.
Printers serve all sectors of the economy
The energy crisis threatens the supply of printed products for all economic markets – from textbooks, advertising and labels for food and pharmaceutical products, to packaging of all kinds. Not to mention the many printed products that are vital for democracy and the knowledge society in Europe, such as books, newspapers and magazines. The printing industry, with its many products, serves citizens and businesses across Europe every day.
Even in times of crisis, printed products are essential. Food and pharmaceutical products must be delivered and properly packaged and labelled, students must be educated with school and lifelong learning materials, citizens must be informed with newspapers and books, businesses need to grow and consumers need easy access to promotions and offers with print advertising (which is particularly important for vulnerable groups in times of economic crisis).
SMEs bear the brunt of the energy crisis
The printing industry is part of the paper and board value chain. The paper and board industry, as an energy-intensive sector, was one of the first to be affected by rising energy prices. This has led to soaring prices for paper and cardboard, as well as critical shortages. The printing industry is now suffering the double blow of soaring raw material costs combined with rising energy costs. Due to their SME-based structure, this is a situation that many print shops will not be able to bear any longer.
Existing support schemes tend to be oriented towards large energy-intensive sectors, but it is essential that legislators – both at European and national level – also support sectors like ours which are part of Europe’s critical infrastructure. . The printing industry is almost entirely made up of SMEs (95%), an energy-intensive manufacturing sector, dependent on energy-intensive raw materials, and plays a vital role in supplying the value chains that provide services and products essential to society.
We call on policy makers across Europe to provide more targeted support to the graphic sector.