Friday 1 January 2010

European Digital Agenda in 2010 on first day of Spanish EU Council presidency

What does the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union hold in store for the European Digital Agenda in 2010?

At the same time, searching for statements regarding specific policies offers a test of the functionality of the Spanish presidency web pages on the first day of the new year (and possibly hints for improvements).

Swedish presidency: post i2010 strategy

The Swedish EU Council presidency handed over the baton in the form of conclusions on the post i2010 strategy by the meeting of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council configuration on 17 to 18 December 2009 (document 17456/09; page 21).

The TTE Council’s conclusions were presented in more detail in the document "Post-i2010 Strategy" - towards an open, green and competitive knowledge society - Adoption of Council conclusions (17107/09; 16 pages), which we summarized in the blog post EU Telecommunications Council on post i2010 strategy: Towards a new digital agenda (25 December 2009).

Spanish presidency: Telecommunications priorities

First we turn to what the Spanish presidency page describes as the political programme, the eight page summary headlined The Spanish Presidency 2010 (pdf document). (By calling it a summary, the Spanish government causes the question where the full programme is, when no such programme seems to be on offer.)

One of the four priorities is to guarantee the economic recovery, and in this context it mentions the adoption of the European strategy for sustainable growth for 2020.

Europe’s response to globalisation should be to improve its capacity to innovate:

Therefore, Spain's Presidency will promote the adoption of an ambitious European Innovation Plan that will cover the different aspects of innovation -regulatory, financial, educational and, of course, the reinforcement of specific policies to support R&D.

Under Transport, Telecommunications and Energy policies, the Spanish Council presidency offers the following description of the road ahead:

- Telecommunications
The Council is working on the four objectives considered to be a priority in this area in the European Union: the establishment of a Europe-wide integrated network, the introduction of information society, the opening up of national markets and the removal of regulatory disparities between Member States with regard to prices, standards, market-access conditions, public procurement, etc.

The web page offers helpful links to external resources, among them Summaries of EU legislation with regard to the Information society. (The undated page seems to be in need of an update by the Commission. A slight imperfection is that the English presidency page links to the Spanish summary, although it is easy enough for users to choose the desired language.)

18 month presidency trio

We failed to find the full presidency work programme (see above). What we found this far was rather vague.

Thus, we look for more detail in the programme of the presidency trio from January 2010 to June 2011: Spain, Belgium and Hungary.

Somewhat hidden under A trio of presidencies, one can actually find a link to the Work programme for the 18 month period: Draft 18 month programme of the Council (document 16771/09; 89 pages). (At this stage, it would be more elegant to present the programme as final or approved by the governments, if that is the case.)

The post i2010 strategy (the European Digital Agenda) has to be seen in the context of economic reform issues (EU 2020), the traditional “beef” of the spring European Council. Consequently it seems better to look at the trio programme in separate blog posts to avoid overburdening readers with an overly long one.

Ralf Grahn

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