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Only 3 weeks after the European Council of Corfu and 10 days after the
Industrial Nations' Summit at Naples, the Commission has reacted today by
adopting an Action Plan (Europe's way to the Information Society: An Action
Plan) concretising the political orientation set out by the Heads of State
and Government on the level of the EU as well as the G7.

"A race is on at global level," said Mr Bangemann. "Those countries which
adapt themselves most quickly will set technological standards for those
who follow". He also called for proper world wide coordination mechanisms,
especially in the field of standardisation, intellectual property and data
protection.

Following on from the recommendations of the Bangemann report in May this
year, the key initiatives of the action plan are likely to dramatically
influence the way we work and live in Europe. They cover the regulatory and
legal aspects of  Europe's communications world, steps  towards the
realisation of transeuropean networks, services and applications as well as
consideration of societal and cultural issues.

Creating a competitive environment

A key recommendation of the Bangemann report was to maximise market forces
and private sector involvement. In order to establish the appropriate
framework conditions for a competitive environment and the stability of the
internal market, the Commission is committed to carrying out a series of
measures. These include:

  The Commission will seek an agreement of Member States on a
clear deadline for liberalising telecommunications infrastructures.
This commitment will complement the Council's decision of last year
to liberalise voice telephony by 1998.

  The Commission will organise, in November, a major Workshop on
standardisation, interconnection of networks and interoperability of
services as a requirement for the development  of a European
information infrastructure.

  The Commission will publish a report will before January 1996
on guaranteeing universal service and its financing.

The Commission will start infringement procedures against the Member
States who have not transposed the European Directive on tariff
structures into national law. Tariffs for leased lines must be cost-
orientated and cost-accounting systems must be verifiable.

  A Green Paper on intellectual property rights will be prepared
in the coming months.

  A Green Paper on the legal protection of encrypted broadcasts
is being prepared.

  A Communication on the follow-up to the Green Paper on
"Pluralism and media concentration in the internal market" will be
presented shortly. The "Television without frontiers" directive  of
1989 will be reviewed in the autumn.

In addition, international dialogue must be intensified, in particular with
the USA, Japan, Canada, Central and Eastern Europe and the most advanced
developing countries in order to discuss issues of interest to all
partners.

The G7 meeting in Naples agreed to convene in Brussels a conference on the
worldwide information infrastructure involving the relevant Ministers. The
Commission will organise this conference in November 1994.

Transeuropean networks, services, applications and content

The private sector is to play a leading role in providing the investment to
meet the challenges of the information society. For its part the Commission
will act as a catalyst in raising public awareness of the opportunities
which would be available, in stimulating public and private sector
partnerships and in sponsoring targeted transeuropean projects.

Actions by the Commission will include the further development of advanced
European communication networks and services. The Commission proposes the
establishment of a "European Forum for Basic Services" which will set the
way for a European approach to the introduction of basic services such as
e-mail, file transfer and interactive video.

In order to support the application areas proposed by the Bangemann report,
round tables and conferences will be organised to stimulate cross-sectoral
partnerships. The Commission will also provide financial support under the
4th RTD Framework Programme and will invite Member States to finance pilot
experiment and infrastructures under the Structural funds.

An "Information Society Project Office" soon to be set up will be the
interface between the Commission and the outside world, in particular
industry, research community and service providers.

In order to reinforce the competitiveness of the European programme
industry the follow-up of the Audio-visual Green Paper will address
regulatory aspects, incentive mechanisms and the convergence of national
support systems.

Social and cultural aspects

The information society touches all aspects of work and leisure time. It
has a great potential for creating new jobs and improving the quality of
life, but possible social and economic discrepancies must be guarded
against. These issues will be addressed through a number of actions. The
Commission will launch studies in collaboration with other bodies such as
the OECD on guidelines for economic and social adaptation to the new
technologies, and new sources of employment. Consequences for regional,
economic and social cohesion will also be assessed. By January 1995, the
Commission will present a Communication identifying ways to overcome
cultural  fragmentation  and  stimulate the  emerging  language-based
industries.

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