Brussels, 02 Feb 2005
Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding has launched a new initiative, i2010, intended to build on the current 'wave of technological and economic development'.
The 'i' in 'i2010' stands for three concepts, explained Ms Reding on 1 February: information space; innovation and investment; and inclusion. 'My aims is to make sure that Europe gets the full benefits in terms of prosperity, jobs and growth,' said the Commissioner.
Ms Reding's aims are ambitious. In order to create an 'information space', she intends to create open and stable markets for electronic communications services and the emerging digital services economy. 'Inclusion' means making the information society accessible everywhere and to everyone in Europe. And 'innovation and investment' involves substantially increasing the research budget for information and communication technologies (ICT).
'I am looking for support to double the information society technology budget in the next EU Framework Research Programme,' said Ms Reding. 'Being serious on Lisbon and growth and jobs means having the courage to increase R&D [research and development] spending. We need to invest now and we have to invest enough to make a difference.'
The Commissioner drew attention to the gap in ICT research investment between the EU and elsewhere. Investment in the EU accounts for one third of that in the US and two thirds of that in Japan. To address the spending deficit, Ms Reding advocated channelling a higher percentage of the EU's research budget into ICT. In the EU, ICT research receives around 20 per cent of the total R&D budget, compared to 30 per cent in the major OECD countries, the Commissioner claimed.
'Of course, more research alone is not enough,' added Ms Reding. 'Its efficiency and effectiveness must be improved. I will seek changes in the Community research programme, to cut red tape and encourage more SME [small and medium sized enterprise] and corporate involvement.'