ICT and media heads pledge their help to 'unlock Europe's digital economy'

July 15, 2005

Brussels, 14 Jul 2005

Representatives from ten of Europe's leading telecom, Internet, television and music companies met with the Commission and the UK presidency in London on 8 and 9 July to discuss ways to foster Europe's emerging digital economy.

The business leaders welcomed the Commission's new i2010 initiative, aimed at completing the internal market for information society and media services, and proposed a common approach to the challenge of transforming the current convergence of digital technologies into growth and jobs for Europe.

Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, welcomed the endorsement of her i2010 roadmap, and said: 'The challenge is clear for policy makers. If we want the growth that this sector can deliver we have to create a single European information economy, with a consistent, light-touch legal framework that is free from artificial barriers to competition and the provision of services.'

The common agenda proposed by business leaders states that EU institutions, national authorities, regulators and industry must work together to accelerate progress towards an open and competitive European digital economy. Specifically, it calls on all stakeholders to:
- unlock the enormous growth potential of the digital economy by encouraging investments in content, services and networks;
- promote the emergence of new media content markets through effective rights protection and licensing agreements. For this, the industry will seek to agree a European Charter for content and online IPR by May 2006;
- keep Europe at the forefront of innovation and growth by offering incentives for private research investment and by prioritising public research spending on ICT.

The UK Presidency's representative Alun Michael, Minister for Industry and the Regions, concluded: 'If people are to benefit from the potential the digital economy offers, we need to ensure we are in a position to exploit that potential in terms of growth and jobs. The agenda agreed today is a major contribution to enabling us to do that. This sector has the potential to be a leading powerhouse of the European economy, creating wealth and jobs based on European skills, technology and creativity.'

The next initiatives to be proposed by Commissioner Reding under the i2010 initiative include a strategy for making more efficient use of the radio spectrum, and proposals for a framework for the provision of audiovisual content services in Europe.

The ten companies represented in the discussion were: Thomson, Vivendi Universal, France Telecom Home Entertainment (France); O2, EMI Music, BBC, BT Group (UK); Tiscali, Fastweb (Italy); and Tele2 (Sweden).

For further information on i2010, please consult the following web address:
http:///europa.eu.int/information_society /eeurope/i2010/index_en.htm

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities
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