EU commissioner outlines e-inclusion plans
Zimmer frames for all
The European Information Society Commissioner has outlined plans for three new major initiatives to accelerate a Europe-wide e-inclusion drive.
Addressing the i2010 conference in London,Viviane Reding said the "flagship" projects would give "critical mass to our work in three and important and visible areas where ICT has a positive impact on citizens".
Reding was setting out to government and business leaders the central pillars of the Commission's new i2010 strategy, its ambitious five-year information society programme for growth and employment.
The first flagship, she said, aimed to enable Europe's aging population to grow older with independence and dignity. It will build upon research initiatives on e-health, e-accessibility and assistive living, as well as inform future work priorities.
The second will look at using technologies to develop safer, smarter and cleaner cars.
'Digital libraries' will be the third flagship, drawing together work to bring European culture online.
"My hope", said Reding, "is to make Europe’s rich literary and audiovisual heritage available to all and to give a spur to enterprises that can create value by reusing these vast resources."
Her immediate priority for the i2010 programme is to create the regulatory framework for a common 'European information space' which will stimulate the availability of online content.
In her keynote address, the commissioner said EU member states faced "major challenges" to make i2010 a reality and needed to work together on this shared agenda.
DTI minister Alun Michael warned delegates that Europe could not afford to be complacent about its future in the global knowledge economy.
"The i2010 Strategy is our blueprint to make Europe the most competitive and knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010", he said.
"We need to ensure that the i2010 Strategy truly delivers the economic and social benefits of the digital revolution for the citizens of Europe in the 21st Century.
"Achieving this is not just for the Commission or for governments. It is up to all of us in Europe to take the i2010 Strategy forward."
The UK Government hosted the conference as one of the official events of its current EU Presidency. Another event will be held in London next month focusing on e-accessibility issues, followed by a Ministerial e-Government conference in November.
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