Thursday, 20 October 2011

EU information society priorities revisited

Is it possible that Europeans do not believe in a real digital single market as a realistic possibility, but see just one more slogan in an endless bog of internal market tinkering?


European information society priorities

As I mentioned in the blog post EU Digital Agenda Public consultation 2009, one of the key documents on the road to the new ICT priorities of the Digital Agenda was the Summary of responses to the public consultation public consultation Priorities for a new strategy for European information society (2010-2015) (DG INFSO, 28 pages).

The public consultation was open from 4 August to 9 October 2009, but the summary is undated.

I am still worried about the proportionately low level of responses to the information society consultation from the Mediterranean EU member states Greece, Portugal and Spain we have seen so much in the news, as well as from the new member states which still have a huge need to catch up.


European information society themes

Rereading the consultation summary, I still feel it offers useful facts and views about the state of the European information society themes (page 5):

1) ICT for a growth and jobs agenda, 2) ICT for a sustainable 'low carbon' economy; 3) Improving Europe's performance in ICT research and innovation; 4) Creating a 100% connected society and economy through a high-speed and open internet for all; 5) Consolidating the online Single Market; 6) Promoting access to creativity at all levels; 7) Strengthening EU's role in the international ICT arena; 8) Making modern and efficient public services available and accessible to all; 9) Using ICT to improve the quality of life of EU citizens.

Online single market

In retrospect I am somewhat puzzled by the lack of interest, vision and ambition among both individual citizens and organisations relating to the online single market (nowadays often called the digital single market) as an ICT policy priority. See page 9.

Is it possible that Europeans do not believe in a real digital single market as a realistic possibility, but see it as just one more slogan in an endless bog of internal market tinkering?

In my view, a truly EU-wide digital single market would be a huge boost to European competitiveness and innovation and to most of the other worthy aims of the Digital Agenda for Europe.

Despite the low priority in the abstract, section 3.4 Digital Single Market (on pages 18-20) showed clear interest in issues presented in more concrete terms. Some of them, such as copyright legislation and licensing regimes which stifle innovative pan-European digital content services, are controversial.

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All in all, in the context of the Europe 2020 growth strategy (EU2020) revisiting the ICT priorities through the EU information society consultation felt like a wortwhile exercise, not a waste of time.



Ralf Grahn