The 2007 European Agenda for Culture opened a new chapter of cooperation in the cultural field among the European Union’s Member States, allowing for exchanges on topics of common interest and on those where mutual learning can be particularly beneficial. These exchanges take place through a process called the open method of coordination (OMC). This is voluntary cooperation among interested Member States, who nominate experts to share their practices and experiences so as to improve their own work. The priorities for the open method of coordination in culture are set out through multiannual work plans, agreed by Member States’ Ministers of Culture in the Education, Youth and Sport Council. The Council Work Plan for Culture 2015-2018 defines current priorities and gives a precise indication of the topics to be dealt with under each priority in the 4-year period. Priority A is defined as Accessible and Inclusive Culture, and under this heading, Member States were invited to nominate experts to work for one year (2015) on the topic of promoting reading in the digital environment, to map best practices and produce a report containing case studies. This report is now before you. The full text of the subgroup’s mandate is set out and discussed below. The question of which aspects to prioritise in the short time available gave rise to lively discussion among the participating experts. The Work Plan gave a few clues, in addition to the mandate itself – indicating that the group’s work should focus on promoting reading ‘as a tool to spread knowledge, enhance creativity, support access to culture and cultural diversity and develop awareness of a European identity, taking into account the various conditions applied to e-books and physical books’.

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