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eEurope 2005

The eEurope initiative was launched in 2000 by the European Commission in order to accelerate Europe’s transition towards a knowledge-based economy, as well as to realize the potential benefits of increased growth, more jobs and better access for citizens to the services of the information age. So far, the initiative has included two conferences: eEurope 2002 and eEurope 2005. This article takes a closer look at the eEurope 2005 conference.

Background Information

The eEurope conference was held by the European Council in Lisbon on March 23-24, 2000. It set the objective for Europe to become “the most competitive and dynamic economy in the world.” In order to do so, Europe needed to rapidly exploit the opportunities of the new economy, particularly, the potential opportunities offered by the internet.

Heads of State and Government requested the European Council and European Commission to put together:

“… a comprehensive eEurope Action Plan… using an open method of co-ordination based on the benchmarking of national initiatives, combined with the Commission’s recent eEurope initiative as well as its Communication Strategies for jobs in the Information Society.”

Moving Forward

During its June 2002 meeting in Barcelona, the EU Heads of State required the European Commission to develop a comprehensive eEurope Action Plan for 2005, which would be presented at the EC meeting in Seville later that year. It requested the Commission to create an action plan that focused on:

“… the widespread availability and use of broadband networks throughout the Union by 2005 and the development of Internet protocol IPv6… and the security of networks and information, eGovernment, eLearning, eHealth and eBusiness.”

The resulting action plan was to replace the previous eEurope 2002 plan created in June 2000. This 2002 action plan led to the following advances:

  • Internet penetration in homes doubled
  • Telecommunications framework in place
  • Internet access prices fallen
  • Almost all companies and schools connected
  • Europe has the world’s fastest research backbone network
  • e-Commerce legal framework largely in place
  • More government services available online
  • Smartcard infrastructure emerging
  • Web accessibility guidelines adopted and recommended in Member States

Five Priorities

When the European Commission proposed the 2005 Action Plan, it focused on five core priorities that Member State governments should take. These were described as follows:

  1. Promotion of content, services and applications.
  2. Provision of interactive public services online, promoting gains in productivity, while ensuring equity.
  3. Reinforcement of digital inclusiveness in all its aspects: individual, social, geographical, in education an in training.
  4. Promotion of broadband internet access, which will need to be in place to ease the widespread deployment of resource-intensive services such as telemedicine or virtual research done in remote laboratories.
  5. The building up of an acceptable level of trust and confidence in cyberspace.

Reinforcing Actions

In order to respond to these priorities, the eEurope action plan developed two groups of actions, designed to reinforce each other and build a virtuous circle. The first group involved services, applications and content, including both online public services as well as e-business. The second group involved the underlying broadband infrastructure and security matters.

The goals for Europe by 2005 were to have:

  • Modern online public services (e.g. e-government, e-leanring services, e-health services)
  • A dynamic e-business environment

As an enabler for these goals, states needed to develop a widespread availability of broadband access at competitive prices, as well as a secure information infrastructure.

On the supply side, the objectives of the action plan were to:

a)    Remove remaining obstacles to the upgrading of existing infrastructure and to the deployment of the new one.

b)    Ensure the availability of financial incentives (from the EU or at the national level), in case of clear market failures.

On the demand side, the action plan focused on:

a)    Remove regulatory obstacles to the development of new services (e.g. easier re-use of public section information, development of digital rights management systems).

b)    Encourage the public sector to fully exploit the possibilities offered b high speed connections and improve the quality and cost effectiveness of public services.

c)    Create a favorable environment to encourage firms to adopt ICT and invest in human capital to develop e-Business activities.

d)   Pool the demand of difference public bodies to facilitate achievement of a critical mass of users that facilitates the deployment of infrastructure by enhancing commercial incentives to invest.

Summary

This article takes a look at eEurope 2005, which was one of the conferences which make up the eEurope initiative so far. The eEurope initiative set the ambitious goal for Europe to become “the most competitive and dynamic economy in the world.” eEurope 2005 set two key goals: to have modern online public services and to have a dynamic e-business environment.

CIPP Exam Preparation

In preparation for the Certified Information Privacy Professional/Europe (CIPP/E) exam, a privacy professional should be comfortable with topics related to this post, including:

  • European Commission (I.B.d.)
  • Appropriate technical and organizational measures (II.G.a.)
  • Internet technology and communications (III.D.)
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