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EU self-flagellates over ICT strategy

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A review of the European Commission's plan to boost the EU economy with ICT investment found it lacks ambition and has come up short on what it set out to achieve.

The first annual progress report on i2010 highlights how Europe continues to lag behind the US in its commitment to technology.

Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding said: "Europe's policies for the digital economy have made some progress, but I do not think that this is good enough. It is worrying that in ICT research Europe continues to lag behind its competitors, investing about half as much as the US.

"ICT is today contributing less to European productivity growth than it did 10 years ago."

The EU sees ICT as a turnkey in implementing its long-term "Lisbon Strategy" for growth and jobs.

The report notes positive trends in broadband uptake, but says access to bandwidth still needs to be improved. The freeing-up of radio spectrum for new applications and modernising public services both need to be sped up too, the authors say.

Reding added: "I call on EU leaders to develop a stronger sense of urgency in their National Reform Programmes and also not shy away from cross-border competition in the telecom sector."

A broad goal of i2010 is "policy convergence" in ICT.

The report can be found here. ®

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