Brussels, 03 Sep 2003
EU Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society Erkki Liikanen has claimed that the key to digital inclusion is the promotion of platforms such as digital TV and mobile phones as alternatives and complements to personal computers (PCs).
This claim was explained by Mr Liikanen at a forum in Lima, Peru, on EU-Latin American and Caribbean cooperation and the enhancement of the information society.
'[I]f all these platforms are interoperable and based on open standards, then we will be making a significant step towards fostering digital inclusion and a dynamic information society, given that content and applications developed for one platform can be used for the others, without the need for re-authoring.'
The Commissioner expressed the EU's willingness to share its experiences within the eEurope initiative with a view to helping Latin America and the Caribbean overcome the challenges of the information society. One vital aspect, he claimed, is that 'e-strategies [...] are backed at the highest political level.'
Mr Liikanen also announced that a major policy dialogue between the regions on e-strategies will be launched at the beginning of 2004.
A number of joint initiatives are already underway, including the @LIS programme, which is currently financing 19 EU-Latin American projects aimed at demonstrating the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in four fields: local e-governance; e-learning and cultural diversity; e-public health; and e-inclusion.
Within the @LIS context, there have also been strides made toward creating a Latin American intra-regional broadband research networking infrastructure. This will be connected to Europe's broadband research network, GEANT, which is the fastest in the world.
The Commissioner ended his presentation by laying down what he would like to see discussed at the world summit on the information society, due to take place in December: 'For the European Union, the summit should not take the form of an additional United Nations pledging conference, but rather constitute an event addressing two main issues.'
These priority issues are the mobilisation of ICT to achieve the UN millennium development goals, and matters resulting from the global nature of the information society, such as trust and confidence and network security, declared Mr Liikanen.