The European Commission has launched a public consultation, which runs until 17 September 2007, to identify the barriers and business opportunities that exist worldwide in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector for Europe’s ICT companies. The Commission is seeking stakeholder opinions on market access and on regulatory issues, so that it can refine the EU strategy on international cooperation in the area of ICT.
In this consultation, which is part of the global i2010 initiative, the Commission is seeking contributions in three areas that it sees as strategic:
- Regulatory, market access, trade issues, looking at regulatory cooperation, standards, intellectual property rights, access to spectrum and smart radio tags (RFID);
- Research and innovation, focusing on ICT research collaboration, research infrastructure and the role of ICT in global challenges such as energy efficiency, ageing, healthcare etc;
- Social aspects, such as network and information security, internet governance, the digital divide between poor and rich countries, and improving existing bilateral agreements with non-EU countries.
The European Union represents about 30 percent of the world’s ICT market – in 2006, the world telecommunications market was worth 971 billion euros (with the EU’s share amounting to 300 billion), while the telecommunications equipment market was valued at 216 billion euros (59 billion in Europe). Electronic communications, embedded computing, micro- and nano-electronics, micro-systems and ‘smart’ integrated systems are Europe’s main industrial and technological strengths. Europe also has 6 of the world's top 10 telecommunications providers and 4 of the top 10 equipment manufacturers.