Brussels, 24 April 2001
Seville: EU leaders to launch Information Society partnership with Latin America and the Caribbean
Ministers, Regulators, Private Sector and Civil Society representatives from the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean will meet in Seville on 26-27 April 2002 to discuss means to establish a long term partnership aimed at building an open, inclusive and democratic Information Society in these regions. The @LIS co-operation programme of the European Commission (see IP/01/1761) will be officially launched on this occasion. A contribution to the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean, to be held on 17-18 May in Madrid, will also be prepared during the event.
The meeting, co-organised by the Spanish Presidency of the European Union and the European Commission, will be attended by the Ministers responsible for Information Society in the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as high-level representatives from regulatory authorities, the private sector and civil society.
Erkki Liikanen, EU Commissioner responsible for Enterprise and the Information Society, stated: "The reinforcement of the collaboration with Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly in the field of Information Society, is a priority for the European Union. I strongly believe that together we can better strive towards our common objective of building an open, inclusive and democratic Information Society, bridging the digital divide both within and between our regions and countries. We should not miss this unique opportunity to increase our efforts in this regard."
Chris Patten, Commissioner for External Relations stated "The Information Society has a big potential to contribute to deepening the relations between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean. The European Commission identified the Information Society as the priority sector for region-wide economic co-operation with Latin America. @LIS is a strategic programme for improved economic development and citizens' participation in the global Information Society, implementing orientations of the 1999 Rio Summit of Heads of State and Government".
The opening session will feature, beside Commissioner Liikanen, Ms. Anna Birulés i Bertrán, Spanish Science and Technology Minister on behalf of the EU Spanish Presidency, as well as the Brazilian Science and Technology Minister, Mr. Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg, and the President of the telecommunications regulatory authority in the Dominican Republic, Mr. Orlando Jorge Mera.
The co-operation programme @LIS (ALliance for the Information Society) with Latin America aims at establishing dialogue and co-operation on policy, regulatory and standardisation frameworks in key areas for the development of a widespread Information Society, such as telecommunications, e-Commerce and e-Government, and at boosting interconnections between research networks and communities in both regions.
Several innovative take-up projects will be also set up in order to demonstrate the benefits of the Information Society applications to citizens in four thematic areas: e-inclusion, e-learning (including education and cultural diversity), public health and local governance. The @LIS programme will be endowed with some € 85 million, of which up to € 63.5 million will be financed by the EC budget, and € 21.5 million by Latin American and EU partners participating in the programme.
The meeting is also expected to result in a greater exposure of the Caribbean representatives to the bi-regional initiatives in the field of the Information Society and in particular to the @LIS programme. In the framework of the support to be provided to the Caribbean by the European Community through the 9th European Development Fund, the parties have been considering Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and the Information Society among the possibilities.
Moreover, this meeting will be a significant opportunity to foster an in-depth debate on the strategies required for the development of an open, inclusive and democratic Information Society on both sides of the Atlantic. Participants will notably address the opportunities arising from the new ICTs (notably mobile communications and digital television) and technological convergence, the benefits of open and international standards, the increasing role of civil society, as well as the new perspectives opened by e-Government and e-Commerce.
The outcome of this meeting will be submitted to the second Summit of Heads of State and Government of the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean, which will be held on 17-18 May 2002 in Madrid.
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