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London, 11 July 2005

Captains of Europe’s ICT and Media Industry Sign Up to Commission Roadmap for Growth and Jobs

Ten business leaders of Europe’s major telecom, Internet, TV and music companies met this Saturday in London with the European Commission, the UK Presidency and representatives of the forthcoming Austrian and Finish presidencies to discuss how to give a spur to Europe’s emerging “Digital Economy”. Technological and market developments are bringing about third generation mobile phones, digital TV broadcasts, online music, Voice over IP and interactive Internet services. How can EU policy ensure that this dynamic wave of economic development results in growth and jobs for Europeans? In a joint statement, the ten business leaders welcomed the European Commission’s response to these challenges given in its new initiative “i2010 – a European Information Society for growth and jobs”. i2010 calls for completion of the internal market for electronic communications and media services, for a more modern and flexible legal framework for audiovisual content, for efficient and interoperable Digital Rights Management and for strengthening investment in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, who initiated the “i2010”-Roadmap in June, welcomed the clear message of support from European business leaders: “The challenge is clear for policy makers. If we want the growth that this sector can deliver we have to create a single European information economy, with a consistent, light-touch legal framework that is free from artificial barriers to competition and the provision of services”

Alun Michael, the UK Minister for Industry and the Regions, stressed: “If people are to benefit from the potential the digital economy offers, we need to ensure we are in a position to exploit that potential in terms of growth and jobs. The agenda agreed today is a major contribution to enabling us to do that. This sector has the potential to be a leading powerhouse of the European economy, creating wealth and jobs based on European skills, technology and creativity”.

At their summit in London, the ten European business leaders agreed to work together with Member States and the Commission on the basis of an “Agenda for Unlocking Europe’s Digital Economy”, in particular on the following points:

  • Promotion of media content markets through effective rights protection, licensing arrangements and encouraging legitimate use of content. For this, industry will seek to agree a European Charter “Content Online & IPR” by May 2006.
  • An appropriate and proportionate modernisation of single market rules on audio visual content.
  • Stimulation of investments in new broadband networks (fixed and mobile), advanced applications and content-rich services and promotion of competition through a full and effective implementation of the EU electronic communications regulatory framework.
  • Greater efficiency and policy coordination on the use of and trade with radio spectrum in Europe.
  • Easy access for users to content and services through secure and interoperable software and services.
  • Investing in private and prioritising public research and development on ICT.

The next initiatives to be proposed by Commissioner Reding under the i2010 Roadmap will be (in September) a strategy for making the use of spectrum more efficient, including by means of radio spectrum trading; and (in December) a proposal for a Directive on a modern and flexible framework for the provision of audiovisual content services in Europe.

Further information on the Commission’s i2010-Roadmap and the industry leaders’ “Agenda for Unlocking Europe’s Digital Economy” can be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/index_en.htm

Annex:

Participants of the European Business Leaders Summit in London on 8-9 July

Frank Dangeard Thomson (FR)

Peter Erskine O2 (UK)

Ruud Huisman Tiscali (IT)

Lars-Johan Jarnheimer Tele2 (SW)

Alain Levy EMI Music (UK)

Jean-Bernard Lévy Vivendi Universal (FR)

Stefano Parisi Fastweb (IT)

Olivier Sichel France Telecom Home Entertainment (FR)

Mark Thompson BBC (UK)

Ben Verwaayen BT Group (UK)


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