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Brussels, 25 March 2002

Commission adopts extension of Action Plan to Make the Internet a Safer Place

The European Commission has today decided to extend the Safer Internet Action Plan for an additional period of two years. The EU has been a forerunner in the fight against illegal and harmful content on the Internet since 1996. The Safer Internet Action Plan is a cornerstone of the EU's action in this field. The Commission now proposes a new phase of the current Action Plan ensuring it to run until the end of 2004. "Content and applications are high on our agenda when it comes to the development of the Internet" said Erkki Liikanen, Member of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society. "But we must also ensure that the Internet becomes a safer place for us all. This Action Plan contributes to that process. We will now focus on raising awareness of safer Internet use, particularly for personalised, interactive (such as chatting and on-line games) and mobile applications and for other new applications that have emerged since the inception of the initial Action Plan."

The Safer Internet Action Plan aims to:

  • Create a safer environment by setting up a network of hotlines in Europe and by encouraging self-regulation;

  • Develop content filtering and rating systems;

  • Encourage European trans-national awareness actions.

The European Commission now proposes an extension of the current Action Plan (1999-2002), with an additional budget of €13.3 million (the budget of the initial Action Plan was €25 million).

To prepare a follow up programme, the Commission consulted the relevant actors and there was overwhelming support for co-ordination within the safer Internet field, both on the national and the European level.

The extended Action Plan will:

  • contribute to achieve the objectives of the eEurope Action Plan;

  • include measures to encourage exchange of information and co-ordination with the relevant actors at national level. Special reference is made to the candidate countries;

  • bring together all the actors in the field of self regulation in a forum;

  • cover different types of illegal content or conduct, including racist material;

  • seek ways to protect children from being contacted by paedophiles online.

The second phase will prepare for a possible subsequent wider initiative related to content in Internet and new online media, including where appropriate support for creation of high-quality European content designed specifically for children and new-media education to deal with convergence of technologies and broader issues of online safety such as consumer protection.

Example projects

  • The EU funded awareness project "Educaunet" ( presented its results on 20 March in Paris ( focussing on the central role of education in creating a safer Internet. A range of user-friendly tools and materials has been produced, both for children and adult, taking advantage of interactive tools and games. Communications activities are being developed and these include the setting up of a network of partners including the media, parents, experts and educators.

  • The Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) launched their ICRAfilter on Thursday, 21 March 2002. This launch represents an important development in their ongoing efforts to protect children from potentially harmful material while protecting the free expression rights of content providers. ICRAfilter is focussing on user choice. The filter will be further enhanced by using third party block and allow lists. It will be adapted and distributed by leading non-profit and commercial companies.

For more information on the Safer Internet Action Plan, please visit the following websites: (awareness exchange platform)

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