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i2010: Information Society and the media working towards growth and jobs

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i2010 is the European Commission’s new strategic framework laying out broad policy guidelines for the information society and the media. The purpose of this new, integrated policy is to encourage knowledge and innovation with a view to boosting growth and creating more better-quality jobs. It forms part of the revised Lisbon Strategy.

ACT

Communication from the Commission of 1 June 2005 to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled “i2010 - A European Information Society for growth and employment” [COM(2005) 229 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

Through i2010 the Commission is taking an integrated approach to the information society and to audio-visual media policies in the European Union. It aims to coordinate the actions undertaken by Member States to facilitate digital convergence and to respond to the challenges associated with the information society. In developing this strategy, the Commission has drawn on wide stakeholder consultation concerning previous initiatives and instruments such as and the Communication on the eEurope and the Communication on the future of European regulatory audio-visual policy.

The Commission proposes three priorities for Europe’s information society and media policy to be achieved by 2010: creating a Single European Information Space; promoting innovation and investment in research into information and communication technologies (ICT); achieving an inclusive European information and media society.

A Single European Information Space

In order to foster an open and competitive internal market for the information society and the media, the first objective of i2010 is to establish a Single European Information Space offering affordable and secure high-bandwidth communications, rich and diverse content and digital services. The Commission aims to achieve four main objectives:

  • to increase the speed of broadband services in Europe;
  • to encourage new services and on-line content;
  • to promote devices and platforms that “talk to one another”; and
  • to make the Internet safer from fraudsters, harmful content and technology failures.

In order to create the Single European Information Space the Commission intends to:

  • review the regulatory framework for electronic communications; this includes defining a strategy for efficient spectrum management;
  • create a consistent internal market framework for information society and media services by:
    • modernising the legal framework for audio-visual services, starting by revising the Television Without Frontiers Directive (2005);
    • making any necessary adaptations to the Community acquis affecting information society and media services (2007);
    • promoting fast and efficient implementation of the existing and updated acquis.
  • continue to support the creation and circulation of European content such as the eLearning and eContentplus programmes and their successors;
  • define and implement a strategy for a secure European Information Society, mainly by raising awareness of the need for self-protection, being vigilant and monitoring threats, and responding rapidly and effectively to attacks and system failures;
  • identify and promote targeted actions on interoperability, particularly digital rights management.

Innovation and investment in research

In order to boost innovation and investment into ICT research, the Commission wants to encourage world-class performance in research and innovation in ICT by closing the gap with Europe’s leading competitors by:

  • increasing Community ICT research support by 80% by 2010 and inviting Member States to do the same;
  • prioritising the key technology pillars of the 7th Framework Programme for research and technological development (FPRD), such as technologies for knowledge, content and creativity, advanced and open communication networks, secure and dependable software, embedded systems and nanoelectronics;
  • launching research and deployment initiatives to overcome key bottlenecks such as interoperability, security and reliability, and the management of identity and rights, which require both technological and organisational solutions;
  • defining complementary measures to encourage private investment in ICT research and innovation (2006);
  • making specific proposals on an “information society for all” in the Community Strategic Guidelines on Cohesion for the period 2007-13;
  • defining e-commerce policies aimed at removing technological, organisational and legal barriers to ICT adoption with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • developing tools to support new patterns of work that enhance innovation in enterprises and adaptation to new skill needs.

Inclusion, better public services and quality of life

The Commission wishes to boost social, economic and territorial cohesion by establishing an inclusive European information society. It intends to promote growth and jobs in a manner that is consistent with sustainable development and that prioritises better public services and quality of life. To achieve its aim of an inclusive information society, offering high-quality public services and improving quality of life, the Commission plans to:

  • issue policy guidance on e-accessibility and broadband coverage to make ICT systems easier to use for a larger number of people (2005);
  • propose a European initiative on e-inclusion, addressing issues such as equal opportunities, ICT skills and regional divides (2008);
  • adopt an Action Plan on eGovernment as well as strategic guidelines to encourage the public services to use ICTs. It will launch demo projects to test, at an operational scale, technological, legal and organisational solutions to bringing public services on-line;
  • launch three flagship ICT initiatives to improve quality of life: caring for people in an ageing society, safer and cleaner transport (and, in particular, the “intelligent car”) and digital libraries to encourage cultural diversity.

Governance

The Commission intends to develop proposals to update the regulatory frameworks for electronic communications, and information society and media services. It also proposes using the Community’s financial instruments to stimulate investment in strategic research and to overcome bottlenecks obstructing ICT innovation. Lastly, it aims to support policies to address inclusion and quality of life.

Member States, through the National Reform Programmes, have committed themselves to adopting information society priorities in line with the Integrated Guidelines for growth and jobs by mid‑October 2005. They aim to:

  • ensure rapid and thorough transposition of the new regulatory frameworks affecting digital convergence with an emphasis on open and competitive markets;
  • increase the share of ICT research in national spending to develop modern, interoperable ICT-enabled public services;
  • use investment to encourage innovation in the ICT sector;
  • adopt ambitious targets for developing the information society at national level.

Member States have reported on their achievements within the framework defined by the review of the Lisbon Strategy.

The Commission will also ask other stakeholders to take part in dialogue in support of developing the information society. The Commission will target industrial partners in particular to encourage them to raise investments in research and new technologies in this field.

To ensure that all stakeholders are involved, the Commission proposes using the open method of communication, which includes an exchange of good practices and annual implementation reports in respect of the Lisbon objectives.

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Europe’s Digital Competitiveness Report: main achievements of the i2010 strategy 2005-2009 [COM(2009) 390 final – Not published in the Official Journal]
This Communication reports on the i2010 strategy implemented between 2005 and 2009. It concludes that ICT action during the last four years has modernised Europe both from an economic and a social point of view, and has contributed to the following results:

  • the number of Europeans online has increased dramatically, particularly with regard to disadvantaged groups;
  • Europe is now the world leader in broadband internet;
  • broadband connections have increased;
  • Europe is in first place with regard to mobile phones;
  • supply and use of online services has increased sharply;
  • progress has been made in the ICT sector in micro-electronics, nano-electronics, health care and road safety;
  • ICT policies have gradually been mainstreamed.

Nevertheless, the European Union still lags behind in the area of technological research and development if its results are compared with those of the United States, Japan or South Korea. In order to maintain its competitiveness, it is therefore important that Europe equips itself with a new digital agenda. To this end, the Commission has planned to launch an online public consultation on some key areas for the EU’s future ICT and media policies.

Communication of 17 April 2008 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Preparing Europe’s digital future – i2010 Mid-Term Review [COM(2008) 199 final – not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission notes the strong growth of broadband in Europe.Over half of all European (250 million people) use the internet on a regular basis. Nearly 40 million new users were registered in 2007. Public services, including 96% of Europe’s schools and 57% of its doctors, are using broadband connections more and more. 77% of all businesses had a broadband connection. Broadband is becoming the standard mode of connectivity.
Apart from noting the strong growth in broadband use across the EU, however, the report puts equal emphasis on concrete proposals for a reorientation of the i2010 initiative for the 2008-10 period. The aim is to promote competitiveness in the more advanced countries whilst at the same time closing the gaps between Member States. More specifically, the Commission wants to kickstart joint technology initiatives to encourage ICT research. 2008 will see the publication of a guide to the rights and obligations of the users of digital technology in the EU in order to promote use of new on‑line technology and lessen the digital divide between Member States. The Commission also plans to develop pan‑European public services such as the electronic identity or electronic signature initiatives.

Communication of 30 March 2007 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: i2010 – Annual Information Society Report 2007 [COM(2007) 146 final – not published in the Official Journal].
In this second report the Commission sets out a number of recommendations and actions for 2007 and 2008 including:

  • a review of the regulatory framework for electronic communications;
  • continuing the policy of innovation in ICT with the Joint Technology Initiatives, EU standardisation policy and the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP);
  • inclusion, the ongoing improvement of public services and quality of life (e‑accessibility, digital literacy, eGovernment, intelligent car, energy efficiency).

In preparation for a mid-term review in 2008, the report outlines a set of preparatory measures:

  • identifying future trends, in particular in through the options offered by the new internet, in cooperation with the i2010 High Level Group;
  • launching a public consultation involving all stakeholders;
  • addressing the main issues for the mid-term review at a high level i2010 event in 2008.

The outcome of these discussions will be fed into the 2008 European Spring Council, which is to address the issues relating to the next generation internet.

Last updated: 09.12.2009
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