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Print Media Chain reacts on Commission’s push for e-invoicing


07 Feb 2011



European Print Media chain has sent an open letter to the European Commission regarding its plans on making electronic invoices standard by 2020. The group encourages the Commission to have a more balanced approach to the topic, pointing out that as well as being a convenient medium of communication, there are large financial, environmental and social reasons for retaining the use of paper.

PostEurop representing 49 European Public Postal Operators together with a large group of stakeholders from the paper and printing industry and linked sectors sent an open letter to the European Commission on the 26th January in reaction to its communication aimed at promoting e-invoicing. The plan, which forms part of the European Digital Agenda, pushes for electronic invoices to become standard by 2020. While expressing support for the development of digital communication and acknowledging potential economic benefits of e-invoicing, the group sustains that rather than conflicting, paper can complement the Digital Agenda.

The print media value chain maintains that the Commission communication, released on the 2nd December 2010, does not take account of a number of important aspects needed for a balanced approach.

For instance, the communication estimates that the move to e-invoicing from paper invoices could potentially save around €40 billion per year across the European Union. These savings would mainly be made by lower paper consumption, elimination of postage cost and better automation of bureaucratic practices on the side of the issuer. The group points out that the cited financial savings from reducing administrative burdens and costs to companies and businesses fail to take into account the transfer of these costs to the recipients.

The Commission also argues that e-billing would reduce CO2 emissions. However, there is a growing understanding of the considerable environmental impact of electronic media, reminds the group. It therefore encourages the Commission to carry out a well-balanced analysis before making such claims.

As conclusion, the group reminds the Commission of ensuring a balanced perspective on electronic invoicing and not to pursue a ‘digital only’ agenda. It urges the Commission to recognise the economic benefits derived from the paper, printing and postal industries, and to acknowledge that these sectors themselves are drivers of economic growth. Furthermore, the group reminds that print is an important means of communication and business development, and vital for a healthy society. It also has a great social and economic value, as thousands of jobs and livelihoods are wholly or partly dependent on the wider paper, printing and postal industries. In addition, the group encourages the Commission to acknowledge the sustainability of paper and print media.

The letter was signed by a large group of stakeholders from the paper, printing and postal industry sectors and linked industries. It was sent to Directorate General (DG) Enterprise and Industry, DG Environment and DG Information Society. The organisations that signed it were: International Confederation for Printing and Allied Industries (INTERGRAF), Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), European E-commerce and Mail Order Trade Association (EMOTA), Federation of Direct and Interactive Marketing (FEDMA), European Envelope Manufacturers’ Association (FEPE), Paper Chain Forum, Postal Users’ Group, European Association of Public Postal Operators (PostEurop), PrintCity, and Print Power and Two Sides campaigns. The signatories urge the relevant EU DGs to engage in a dialogue aimed at preventing discrimination based on false perceptions.

For more information, please contact:

Sébastien Houzé

Market Manager

Tel: +32 2 773 11 95




Cynthia Wee
Communications Manager
T: +32 2 773 11 92


Joint Letter to EC Download


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