Digital Agenda for Europe

On 19 May 2010, the European Commission presented its communication on a Digital Agenda for Europe, identifying the conditions, targets and measurements for the maximising the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) which will benefit the European economy between 2010 and 2015.

The Digital Agenda for Europe is one of the seven flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, which aims to achieve intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth, and sets out some 100 follow-up actions, of which 31 would be legislative.

In presenting the Agenda, the EC outlines seven priority areas for action which it considers to be an ''action plan to boost Europe's prosperity and well-being''. The seven goals are:

A new Single Market to deliver the benefits of the digital era

The Commission intends to open up access to legal online content by simplifying copyright clearance, management and crossborder licensing.

Improve ICT standard-setting and interoperability

To allow people to create, combine and innovate we need ICT products and services to be open and interoperable

Enhance trust and security

A better coordinated European response to cyber-attacks and reinforced rules on personal data protection are part of the solution.

Actions could also potentially oblige website operators to inform their users about security breaches affecting their personal data.

Increase Europeans' access to fast and ultra fast internet

Note is made of the proposal to approve, before the end of the year, a Decision on the European Spectrum Policy Programme, in order to obtain more efficient management of the radio spectrum, and a Recommendation directed at encouraging investment in next generation networks (NGN). The Commission also proposes a 2020 target for internet speeds of 30 Mbps or above for all European citizens, with half European households subscribing to connections of 100Mbps or higher. The Commission will inter alia explore how to attract investment in broadband through credit enhancement mechanisms and will give guidance on how to encourage investments in fibre-based networks.

Boost cutting-edge research and innovation in ICT

The Agenda aims to inter alia leverage private investments with European regional funding and increasing EU research funding to ensure that Europe keeps up with and even surpasses its competition.

Empower all Europeans with digital skills and accessible online services

All Europeans, young and old, irrespective of social background, are entitled to the knowledge and skills they need to be part of the digital era since commerce, public, social and health services, learning and political life is increasingly moving online.

Unleash the potential of ICT to benefit society

Europe needs to invest in smart use of technology and the exploitation of information to seek solutions to reduce energy consumption, support ageing citizens, empower patients and improve online access for people with disabilities.

The toughest challenge is to ensure rapid adoption and implementation of the measures necessary to meet the above objectives.

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