Procedure : 2007/0116(COD)
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Document selected : A6-0027/2008

Texts tabled :

A6-0027/2008

Debates :

PV 12/03/2008 - 16
CRE 12/03/2008 - 16

Votes :

PV 13/03/2008 - 4.3
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2008)0098

REPORT     ***I
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4 February 2008
PE 396.494v03-00 A6-0027/2008

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the participation by the Community in a research and development programme aimed at enhancing the quality of life of older people through the use of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), undertaken by several Member States

(COM(2007)0329 – C6-0178/2007 – 2007/0116(COD))

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

Rapporteur: Neena Gill

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality
 PROCEDURE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the participation by the Community in a research and development programme aimed at enhancing the quality of life of older people through the use of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), undertaken by several Member States

(COM(2007)0329 – C6-0178/2007 – 2007/0116(COD))

(Codecision procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2007)0329),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) and Articles 169 and 172(2) of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C6-0178/2007),

–   having regard to Rule 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (A6-0027/2008),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend the proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission.

Text proposed by the Commission  Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

Recital 6

(6) Building on active ageing as a core element in the renewed employment guidelines, the EU approach to ageing aims at mobilising the full potential of people of all ages and stresses the need to shift from fragmented to comprehensive ageing strategies based on a lifecycle approach.

(6) Active ageing is a core element in the renewed employment guidelines. The EU approach to ageing aims at mobilising the full potential of people of all ages (the lifecycle approach) , at the same time ensuring equal opportunities for women and men, and stresses the need to shift from fragmented to comprehensive ageing strategies. Whilst the ageing of the population in the Union is a social challenge, it can also be seen as an opportunity for emerging markets.

Amendment 2

Recital 6 a (new)

 

(6a) The rapid development of ICT and e-services increases the risk of information exclusion. Improving digital literacy, especially for women, is therefore a precondition for inclusion and participation in the information society.

Justification

Research and development programmes should address the issue of improving Digital Literacy, especially problems concerning the information exclusion of women.

Compromise amendment 3

Recital 8

(8) Wishing to have a coherent approach at European level in the field of ICT for Ageing Well and to act effectively, several Member States have taken the initiative in setting up a joint research and development programme entitled "Ambient Assisted Living" (hereinafter referred to as the “AAL Joint Programme”) in the field of ICT for ageing well in the information society, in order to obtain synergies in terms of management and financial resources and the combination of additional expertise and resources available in various countries across Europe.

(8) Wishing to have a coherent approach at European level in the field of ICT for Ageing Well and to act effectively, several Member States have taken the initiative in setting up a joint research and development programme entitled "Ambient Assisted Living" (hereinafter referred to as the “AAL Joint Programme”), in order to obtain synergies in terms of management and financial resources, a single, common mechanism for evaluation by independent experts and the combination of additional expertise and resources available in various countries across Europe.

Compromise amendment 4

Recital 9

(9) The AAL Joint Programme aims at addressing the Demographic Ageing challenge by providing the necessary legal and organisational framework for large-scale European cooperation between Member States on applied research and innovation in the area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Ageing Well in an ageing society. Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain (hereinafter referred to as "the participating Member States") and Israel, Norway and Switzerland have agreed to coordinate and implement jointly activities aimed at contributing to the AAL Joint Programme. The overall value of their participation is estimated at a minimum of EUR 150 million for the duration of the Seventh Framework Programme.

(9) The AAL Joint Programme aims at addressing the Demographic Ageing challenge by providing the necessary legal and organisational framework for large-scale European cooperation between Member States in applied research and innovation in the area of ICT for Ageing Well in an ageing society in which, incidentally, the percentage of women is higher than men due in part to the longer average life expectancy of women. Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain (hereinafter referred to as "the participating Member States") and Israel, Norway and Switzerland have agreed to coordinate and implement jointly activities aimed at contributing to the AAL Joint Programme. Participation should be subject to a minimum financial contribution commensurate with the potential demand from the various national research communities. Since the AAL Joint Programme is to make a substantial contribution to the development of the European Research Area, the overall value of contributions from the participating Member States, Israel, Norway and Switzerlandshould be above EUR 150 million for the duration of the Seventh Framework Programme.

Compromise amendment 5

Recital 11

(11) The Community financial support should be provided subject to the definition of a financing plan based on formal commitments from the competent national authorities to implement jointly the research and development programmes and activities undertaken at national level and to contribute to the financing of the joint execution of the AAL Joint Programme.

(11) The Community financial support should be provided subject to the definition of a financing plan based on formal commitments from the competent national authorities to implement jointly the research and development programmes and activities undertaken at national level and to contribute to the financing of the joint execution of the AAL Joint Programme. National contributions should be in a sum greater than 20% of total national research funding for AAL related activities.

Amendment 6

Recital 17

(17) The Community should have the right to reduce its financial contribution if the AAL Joint Programme is implemented inadequately, partially or late, or if the participating Member States and Israel, Norway and Switzerland do not contribute or contribute partially or late to the financing of the AAL Joint Programme, on the terms set out in an agreement to be concluded between the Community and the dedicated implementation structure laying down the detailed arrangements for the Community contribution.

(17) The Community should reduce or terminate its financial contribution if the AAL Joint Programme is implemented inadequately, partially or late, on the terms set out in an agreement to be concluded between the Community and the dedicated implementation structure laying down the detailed arrangements for the Community contribution.

Amendment 7

Recital 22 a (new)

 

(22a) Moreover, in accordance with the Seventh Framework Programme, the role of women in science and research should be actively promoted by appropriate measures with a view to encouraging greater numbers of women to become involved in this field.

Compromise amendment 8

Recital 22 b (new)

(22b) It is essential that the involvement of SMEs be promoted in the carrying out of activities under the AAL Joint Programme.

Compromise amendment 9

Recital 22 c (new)

(22c) In the implementation of the AAL Joint Programme, attention should be paid to harnessing technologies and supporting services innovation and used centred system integration as well as access to services through a choice of different channels, including person to person service provision. Fair access for all Member States to cost effective solutions should also be promoted so as to avoid widening the digital divide and thus creating a two tier Europe.

Amendment 10

Recital 22 d (new)

(22d) Activities carried out under the AAL Joint Programme should include research into demographic trends in the Member States to determine where these trends are most pronounced and to analyse their social and economic implications.

Amendment 11

Recital 23

(23) The Commission should conduct an interim evaluation, assessing the quality and efficiency of the implementation of the AAL Joint Programme and progress towards the objectives set, as well as a final evaluation,

(23) The Commission should conduct an interim evaluation by 2010, assessing the quality and efficiency of the implementation of the AAL Joint Programme and progress towards the objectives set. In that evaluation it should also assess the need for further interim evaluations before the final evaluation at the end of 2013.

Amendment 12

Article 2, point (c)

(c) establishment of the appropriate and efficient governance model for the AAL Joint Programme in conformity with the guidelines set out in Annex II to this Decision;

(c) establishment of an appropriate, efficient and gender sensitive governance model for the AAL Joint Programme in conformity with the guidelines set out in Annex II to this Decision;

Amendment 13

Article 2, point (e)

(e) commitments by the participating Member States, Israel, Norway and Switzerland to contribute to the financing of the AAL Joint Programme and the effective payment of the financial contribution, in particular the funding of participants in the projects selected following the calls for proposals launched under the Programme;

(e) commitments by the participating Member States, Israel, Norway and Switzerland to contribute to the financing of the AAL Joint Programme and the effective payment of the financial contribution to the operating costs of the AAL Join Programme and to the funding of participants in the projects selected following the calls for proposals launched under the Programme;

Justification

It is important to specify how operating costs should be funded.

Compromise amendment 14

Article 2, point (e a) (new)

(e) commitments by the participating Member States, Israel, Norway and Switzerland to contribute to the financing of the AAL Joint Programme and the effective payment of the financial contribution, in particular the funding of participants in the projects selected following the calls for proposals launched under the Programme;

(e a) commitments by the participating Member States, Israel, Norway and Switzerland to contribute to the financing of the AAL Joint Programme in a sum greater than 20% of total national research funding for AAL related activities ;

Amendment 15

Article 2, point (g)

(g) ensuring a high level of scientific excellence and observance of ethical principles in accordance with the general principles of the Seventh Framework Programme; and

(g) ensuring a high level of scientific excellence, observance of ethical principles and the integration of the gender dimension in all areas of research in accordance with the general principles of the Seventh Framework Programme; and

Amendment 16

Article 3

The granting of financial support by the dedicated implementation structure to third parties in the implementation of the AAL Joint Programme, and in particular financial support provided to participants in projects selected following calls for proposals for the award of grants, shall be subject to the principles of equal treatment and transparency. The financial support to third parties shall be granted on the basis of scientific excellence and in accordance with the principles and procedures set out in Annex I to this Decision.

The granting of financial support by the dedicated implementation structure to third parties in the implementation of the AAL Joint Programme, and in particular financial support provided to participants in projects selected following calls for proposals for the award of grants, shall be subject to the principles of equal treatment, gender mainstreaming and transparency, predictability for applicants and evaluation by independent experts. The financial support to third parties shall be granted on the basis of scientific excellence and ability to contribute to the overall social and economic objectives of the AAL Joint Programme in accordance with the principles and procedures set out in Annex I to this Decision.

Justification

Applicants should have certainty about the conditions under which they can participate and it should be possible for them to verify in advance whether they meet these conditions. For true European cooperation evaluation by independent experts is needed, rather than a set of national assessments, building on the experience of the previous Art 169 initiative (safeguarding scientific, management and financial integration). Proposals should also contribute to social and economic objectives for "ageing well with ICT".

Amendment 17

Article 5

If the AAL Joint Programme is not implemented or is implemented inadequately, partially or late, or if the participating Member States, Israel, Norway and Switzerland do not contribute, contribute partially or late to the financing of the AAL Joint Programme, the Community may reduce its financial contribution in line with the actual implementation of the AAL Joint Programme and the amount of public funding allocated by the participating Member States, Israel, Norway and Switzerland for the implementation of the AAL Joint Programme, on the terms laid down in the agreement to be concluded between the Commission and the dedicated implementation structure.

If the AAL Joint Programme is not implemented or is implemented inadequately, partially or late, the Community shall reduce or terminate its financial contribution in line with the actual implementation of the AAL Joint Programme.

Justification

The conditions for the Community contribution should be clearly stated.

Amendment 18

Article 5, paragraph 1 a (new)

If the participating Member States, Israel, Norway and Switzerland do not contribute or contribute only partially or late to the financing of the AAL Joint Programme, the Community may reduce its financial contribution in line with the actual amount of public funding allocated by the participating Member States, Israel, Norway and Switzerland on the terms laid down in the agreement to be concluded between the Commission and the dedicated implementation structure.

Justification

The conditions for the Community contribution should be clearly stated.

Amendment 19

Article 8

The Commission shall communicate all relevant information to the European Parliament, the Council and the Court of Auditors. The participating Member States, Israel, Norway and Switzerland are invited to submit to the Commission, through the dedicated implementation structure, any additional information required by the European Parliament, the Council and the Court of Auditors concerning the financial management of the dedicated implementation structure.

The Commission shall communicate all relevant information to the European Parliament, the Council and the Court of Auditors. The participating Member States, Israel, Norway and Switzerland are invited to submit to the Commission, through the dedicated implementation structure, any additional information required by the European Parliament, the Council and the Court of Auditors concerning the financial management of the dedicated implementation structure that is consistent with the overall reporting requirements set out in Article 12.

Amendment 20

Article 12, paragraph 1

1. The annual report on the Seventh Framework Programme presented to the European Parliament and the Council pursuant to Article 173 of the Treaty shall include a summary of the activities of the AAL Joint Programme.

1. The annual report on the Seventh Framework Programme presented to the European Parliament and the Council pursuant to Article 173 of the Treaty shall include a report on the activities of the AAL Joint Programme.

Amendment 21

Article 12, paragraph 2

2. An interim evaluation of the AAL Joint Programme shall be carried out by the Commission two years after the start of the Programme, but in any case no later than 2010. This evaluation shall cover the quality and efficiency of the implementation, including scientific, management and financial integration, of the AAL Joint Programme and progress towards the objectives set, including recommendations on the most appropriate ways to further enhance integration. The Commission shall communicate the conclusions thereof, accompanied by its observations and, where appropriate, proposals for the adaptation of this Decision, to the European Parliament and the Council.

2. An interim evaluation of the AAL Joint Programme shall be carried out by the Commission two years after the start of the Programme, but in any case no later than 2010. If deemed necessary after the first interim review, further interim evaluations may be undertaken. Such evaluations shall cover the quality and efficiency of the implementation, including scientific, management and financial integration, of the AAL Joint Programme and progress towards the objectives set, including recommendations on the most appropriate ways to further enhance integration. Experience from earlier joint programmes carried out under Article 169 of the Treaty shall be taken into account. The Commission shall communicate the conclusions thereof, accompanied by its observations and, where appropriate, proposals for the adaptation of this Decision, to the European Parliament and the Council.

Compromise amendment 22

Annex I, point I, indent 1

- Foster the emergence of innovative ICT-based products, services and systems for ageing well at home, in the community, and at work, thus increasing the quality of life, autonomy, participation in social life, skills and employability of older people and reducing the costs of health and social care. This may be based e.g. on innovative utilisation of ICT technology, new ways of customer interaction or new types of value chains for independent living services.

- Foster the emergence of innovative ICT-based products, services and systems for ageing well at home, in the community, and at work, thus improving the quality of life, autonomy, participation in social life, skills and employability of older people and reducing the costs of health and social care. This may be based e.g. on innovative utilisation of ICT technology, new ways of customer interaction or new types of value chains for independent living services. The results of the AAL Joint programme could also be used by other groups of people, namely people with disabilities.

Amendment 23

Annex I, point I, indent 3

- Improve conditions for industrial exploitation of research results by providing a coherent European framework for developing common approaches and facilitating the localisation and adaptation of common solutions which are compatible with varying social preferences and regulatory aspects at national or regional level across Europe.

- Improve conditions for industrial exploitation of research results by providing a coherent European framework for developing common approaches and common minimum standards and facilitating the localisation and adaptation of common solutions which are compatible with varying social preferences and regulatory aspects at national or regional level across Europe.

Compromise amendment 24

Annex I, point II, paragraph 3 a (new)

Through its activities, the AAL Joint Programme shall contribute to the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy objectives and to creating the knowledge based society, while trying to ensure that the use of new technology does not lead to social exclusion. In this context, the development of cost effective solutions that can help to ensure fair and simplified access across all regions of the Union, including rural and peripheral areas, to relevant ICT-based products and services is to be promoted.

 

 

 

 

Amendment 25

Annex I, point II, paragraph 3 b (new)

##

Wherever possible, activities carried out under the AAL Programme should build on and ensure synergies with relevant regional developments and policies, for example developments concerning smart housing or other infrastructures required for testing ICT solutions resulting from projects.

##

Justification

##

Amendment 26

Annex I, point II, paragraph 3 c (new)

##

The AAL Joint Programme shall also take into account demographic trends in the Member States in order to provide solutions that reflect the social and economic situation across the Union.

##

Justification

##

Compromise amendment 27

Annex I, point III, paragraph 1 a (new)

When selecting research topics for inclusion in the annual work programme criteria such as the following should be taken into account:

 

- complementarity with relevant national and Community programmes and non-duplication;

 

- innovation and co-financing by the private sector, in particular SMEs, with the aim of supporting market-ready or near market-ready products or services;

 

- the development of technology and solutions that are adapted to the needs of the elderly, for example in their home environment ("smart homes") and or in their work environment;

 

- whether services to be developed respect the privacy and dignity of the elderly;

 

- whether technology or services that provide support for independent living also contribute to increased social participation on the part of the elderly.

Compromise amendment 28

Annex I, point III, paragraph 3

Project proposals shall be evaluated and selected at central level on the basis of transparent and common eligibility and evaluation criteria, as set out in the work programme, which shall be binding on the participating Member States and Israel, Norway and Switzerland , except for a limited number of well-defined cases to be further specified in the implementation of the Programme.

Project proposals shall be evaluated and selected at central level on the basis of transparent and common eligibility and evaluation criteria, as set out in the work programme, which shall be binding on the participating Member States and Israel, Norway and Switzerland. Eligibility, evaluation and selection criteria shall be published with the work programme.

Compromise amendment 29

Annex I, point III, paragraph 3 a (new)

Applicants shall be able to verify compliance with specified legal or administrative funding conditions. After the closure of a call for proposals, an eligibility check shall be carried out by the dedicated implementation structure. Common eligibility criteria shall include at least the following:

 

 

 

-timely, complete and electronic submission of proposals, and

 

- the satisfaction of requirements concerning the composition of consortia.

Amendment

Annex I, point III, paragraph 3 b (new)

A single, common and central evaluation shall be carried out by independent experts appointed by the Commission. The independent experts shall report to the Commission on the evaluation and selection processes.

Amendment

Annex I, point III, paragraph 8, indent 2

- ensuring that the final ranking of proposals agreed on the basis of the evaluation will be binding on Partner States, except in duly identified cases such as legal problems or financial viability;

- ensuring that the final ranking of proposals agreed on the basis of the evaluation will be binding on Partner States;

Compromise amendment 32

Annex I, point IV, paragraph 1 a (new)

A maximum 6% of the Community financial contribution shall be used to contribute to the overall operating costs of the AAL Joint Programme

Amendment 33

Annex II, paragraph 6

An Advisory Board with representatives from industry and other stakeholders will provide recommendations for priorities and topics to be addressed in the calls for proposals of the AAL Joint Programme.

An Advisory Board with representatives from industry and other stakeholders, such as older people, and - with a view to inter-generational solidarity and understanding - younger people, will provide recommendations for priorities and topics to be addressed in the calls for proposals of the AAL Joint Programme.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The Commission proposal concerns the participation of the Community in the Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) joint research and development programme undertaken by several Member States under Article 169 of the Treaty.

The overall objective of the programme is to enhance the quality of life of older people and strengthen the industrial base in Europe through the use of ICT.

The programme has three specific objectives:

· Foster the emergence of innovative ICT based products, services and systems for ageing well at home, in the community and at work.

· Create a critical mass of research, development and innovation in Europe in technologies and services for ageing well in the information society, including a favourable environment for SMEs

· Improve conditions for industrial exploitation by providing a coherent European framework for developing common approaches and facilitating common solutions.

So far eighteen European countries and Israel have decided to pool their research efforts in ICT for independent living into the AAL joint programme for applied research. They have agreed on a joint research work programme, which will invite joint projects with participants from different countries, have a common evaluation procedure and be funded from national budgets.

Why is the joint programme needed?

The demographic ageing of Europe poses a challenge to European society and economy. The average life expectancy today is 80 and the number of people aged from 65 to 80 will rise by 40% between 2010 and 2030.

ICT can help the older individuals to improve quality of life, stay healthier and live independently for longer. Innovative solutions are emerging to help counteract problems related to memory, vision, hearing, mobility, loss of independence which are more prevalent with age(1). ICT also enables older persons to remain active at work or in their community. Their accumulated experience and skills is a great asset, especially in the knowledge society.

The ageing of the population also puts pressure on the affordability of health and social care services and the availability of health and social care staff, requiring adjusting the way these services are currently offered to cope with an increasing demand in the future. New information and communication technologies mean that it is becoming possible to provide the care and treatment people require –at lower cost – in their own homes.

Demographic ageing also means an opportunity for the European economy. The older population has increasing purchasing power and since ageing is a global phenomenon, a strong base of ICT enabled solutions in Europe could be the start of export opportunities worldwide.

If the EU is to become a world class leader in this industry it is important to address the business model and prices for consumers. However, to ensure lower prices it is necessary to lower the cost of development and production. To establish a strong EU market, Member States will need to collectively look at developing EU wide standards and interoperability.

The AAL Joint Programme

The Joint programme includes two types of activities:

· Research, development and innovation activities consisting of shared cost transnational projects involving at least three partners from different participating Member States. The focus here will be market oriented research, of short to medium duration and capable of exploiting the project results within a realistic time frame.

· Brokerage, programme promotion and networking activities, in order to establish contacts with all stakeholders in the value chain. The stakeholders are decision makers from the public sector, private sector service and insurance providers, industry, SMEs and users representatives.

Each country will finance their national participants whose proposals have been selected. The national funding will be managed by national agencies which will also channel funding coming from the dedicated implementation structure.

The Community contribution will represent a fixed percentage of the overall public funding from the participating national programmes, but shall in any case not exceed 50% of the total public funding of a participant in a selected project.

The maximum total financial contribution from the Community is 150 million EURO from the budget of the 7 Framework Programme.

Comments

The rapporteur considers that the Commission's proposal raises several questions in regards research contents, activities, funding, membership and accessibility.

a) Research contents

The proposal does not include any indication of the main research lines it will be funding. Nor does it define how the annual work programme is going to be decided, other than "consultation with relevant European stakeholders". Further elaboration such a draft work programme would be useful.

Joint implementation of national programmes would imply the existence of national programmes with different lines of research. No mention is made of the main common lines in these programmes or the possible articulation of relevant national approaches into a coherent programme aimed at the stated objectives.

The rapporteur is concerned about the inclusion in the work programme of issues such as:

Acceptance of technologies by the elderly; user requirements; accessibility (in particular for rural areas), affordability both for the consumer and for the health care organisations and practical barriers preventing the use of already existing technologies.

b) Activities

The proposal includes two types of activities: research, development and innovation and brokerage, programme promotion and networking activities. However, neither would seem to address the very important aim of the programme to provide "a coherent European framework for developing common approaches and facilitating the localisation and adaptation of common solutions..." This framework is obviously the main added value of the joint programme and yet, neither the research activities nor the brokerage events seem to focus on it or the link is not clearly justified.

The rapporteur is concerned about ensuring impartiality/independence in the selection of proposals and that the funding be used for truly innovative projects which make a leap forward in this domain and not only by funding seminars and brochures.

c) Funding

The Commission should clarify possible mismatches of funds from national budgets with selected proposals from the same countries.

Further clarification is required about what would happen to the overall programme funding if MS do not commit to the funding per annum. It is not stated whether there is a minimum contribution of the Member States and industry

d) Membership

Given that funding from the EU is a fixed amount, there seems to be no incentive for the initial Member States participating within AAL programme to promote the participation of new members.

e) Structure

The proposal has a complex structure which involves establishing an association with a board of directors, an advisory board and administrative staff. This implementation structure will be able to receive funding, put out calls for proposals and evaluate and allocate funding. The question remains whether it is feasible to simplify the structure and have fewer layers within the AAL Association and whether the work could be done directly by the Commission rather than a separate association.

The rapporteur is concerned also about the visibility of the EU, a major donor, under this structure

Finally, and given that implementation of Article 169 has had problems in the past (such as poor management or funding commitments from Member States not honoured) the rapporteur considers that the proposal should prove that there are no alternatives to article 169.

f) Accessibility

All MS should have similar access to the technologies in terms of products and services on the market in order not to create a two tier Europe and widen the digital divide.

There should not be a geographical divide either if elderly people in rural/peripheral areas will not have the same access to technologies as those in conglomerations.

With relation to access to the products/services- the report assumes that this demographic segment has a high purchasing power, but in reality, the elderly are cost conscious and many living on pensions alone. Thus, it is essential to keep costs affordable and the products accessible to all who need them.

Evidence suggests that the elderly and the disabled are at greater risk of being digitally marginalised, therefore more needs to be done to avoid social exclusion of the elderly at work/community/homes. Moreover, research suggests that older people are less inclined to use/try new technologies; therefore it is very important that the products developed are easy to use and a lot of research should go into making them simple to use. This must mean that the target group should be included during the design and conceptual phase.

Finally, we need to make a distinction between the needs of different age groups. Evidence shows that 65-75yrs have different needs to 75-85 yrs and 85+. In terms of technologies targeted at disabled groups, the latter have very specific needs but often developing products for such specialised needs may be costly and furthermore the market segment is not proportionately large.

Other impacts

In some cases, the ICT technologies for ageing well in the society may be able to reduce the need of healthcare staff (physiotherapists, nurses, doctors) but the issue of the risks of not having medical experts present when patients are carrying out rehabilitation or health monitoring exercises should be addressed.

Other issues of concern to the rapporteur are: Simplifying access for SMEs; impact on employment in the health sector if elderly consumers become more independent and practical technical and regulatory obstacles preventing wider use of ICT in this area.

Conclusion

The proposal requires further definition in terms of research contents and the process of drafting the work programme. More indication is required about relevant trends in RTD in Member States, common lines, gaps or possible topics of European added value.

The proposal does not fully explain how proposed activities will contribute to developing a common European framework which could provide the needed single market for the participating industries.

Finally, it is essential that the EU takes a comprehensive approach to the challenge of ageing in Europe our demographic trends affect several policy areas: employment, housing, education and training, social support and public health.

(1)

45% of those aged 75 and older are to some degree impaired in their daily living activities.


OPINION of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (18.12.2007)

for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the participation by the Community in a research and development programme aimed at enhancing the quality of life of older people through the use of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), undertaken by several Member States

(COM(2007)0329 – C6-0178/2007 – 2007/0116(COD))

Draftswoman: Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Text proposed by the Commission  Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

Recital 6

(6) Building on active ageing as a core element in the renewed employment guidelines, the EU approach to ageing aims at mobilising the full potential of people of all ages, and stresses the need to shift from fragmented to comprehensive ageing strategies based on a lifecycle approach.

(6) Building on active ageing as a core element in the renewed employment guidelines and taking into account the fact that, thanks to systems and products based on information and communication technologies, persons (in most cases women) who care for the elderly are not required to give up work, the EU approach to ageing aims at mobilising the full potential of people of all ages, ensuring equal opportunities for women and men, and stresses the need to shift from fragmented to comprehensive ageing strategies based on a lifecycle approach.

Justification

The intention here is to emphasise the idea of promoting employment through information and communication technologies, not just by extending the actives lives of the elderly but also by ensuring that persons (generally women) who care for the elderly are not required to give up work.

Amendment 2

Recital 6 a (new)

 

(6a) The rapid development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and e-services increases the risk of information exclusion. Improving digital literacy, especially for women at all levels, is therefore a precondition for inclusion and participation in the information society.

Justification

Research and development programmes should address the issue of improving Digital Literacy, especially problems concerning the information exclusion of women.

Amendment 3

Recital 9

(9) The AAL Joint Programme aims at addressing the Demographic Ageing challenge by providing the necessary legal and organisational framework for large-scale European cooperation between Member States on applied research and innovation in the area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Ageing Well in an ageing society. Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain (hereinafter referred to as "the participating Member States") and Israel, Norway and Switzerland have agreed to coordinate and implement jointly activities aimed at contributing to the AAL Joint Programme. The overall value of their participation is estimated at a minimum of EUR 150 million for the duration of the Seventh Framework Programme.

(9) The AAL Joint Programme aims at addressing the Demographic Ageing challenge by providing the necessary legal and organisational framework for large-scale European cooperation between Member States on applied research and innovation in the area of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Ageing Well in an ageing society, in which the percentage of women is higher than men due to the longer average life expectancy of women. Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain (hereinafter referred to as "the participating Member States") and Israel, Norway and Switzerland have agreed to coordinate and implement jointly activities aimed at contributing to the AAL Joint Programme. The overall value of their participation is estimated at a minimum of EUR 150 million for the duration of the Seventh Framework Programme.

Amendment 4

Recital 21 a (new)

 

(21a) In accordance with the Seventh Framework Programme, the role of women in science and research should be actively promoted by appropriate measures with a view to encouraging greater numbers to become involved in this field and further enhancing their active role in research.

Amendment 5

Article 2, point (c)

(c) establishment of the appropriate and efficient governance model for the AAL Joint Programme in conformity with the guidelines set out in Annex II to this Decision;

(c) establishment of the appropriate, efficient and gender-responsive governance model for the AAL Joint Programme in conformity with the guidelines set out in Annex II to this Decision;

Amendment 6

Article 2, point (g)

(g) ensuring a high level of scientific excellence and observance of ethical principles in accordance with the general principles of the Seventh Framework Programme; and

(g) ensuring a high level of scientific excellence and observance of ethical principles, including the integration of the gender dimension in all areas of research in accordance with the general principles of the Seventh Framework Programme; and

Amendment 7

Article 3

The granting of financial support by the dedicated implementation structure to third parties in the implementation of the AAL Joint Programme, and in particular financial support provided to participants in projects selected following calls for proposals for the award of grants, shall be subject to the principles of equal treatment and transparency. The financial support to third parties shall be granted on the basis of scientific excellence and in accordance with the principles and procedures set out in Annex I to this Decision.

The granting of financial support by the dedicated implementation structure to third parties in the implementation of the AAL Joint Programme, and in particular financial support provided to participants in projects selected following calls for proposals for the award of grants, shall be subject to the principles of equal treatment, gender mainstreaming and transparency. The financial support to third parties shall be granted on the basis of scientific excellence and in accordance with the principles and procedures set out in Annex I to this Decision.

Amendment 8

Article 12, paragraph 2

2. An interim evaluation of the AAL Joint Programme shall be carried out by the Commission two years after the start of the Programme, but in any case no later than 2010. This evaluation shall cover the quality and efficiency of the implementation, including scientific, management and financial integration of the AAL Joint Programme and progress towards the objectives set, including recommendations on the most appropriate ways to further enhance integration. The Commission shall communicate the conclusions thereof, accompanied by its observations and, where appropriate, proposals for the adaptation of this Decision, to the European Parliament and the Council.

2. An interim evaluation of the AAL Joint Programme shall be carried out by the Commission two years after the start of the Programme, but in any case no later than 2010. This evaluation shall cover the quality and efficiency of the implementation, including scientific, management and financial integration, as well as a gender impact assessment of the AAL Joint Programme and progress towards the objectives set, including recommendations on the most appropriate ways to further enhance integration. The Commission shall communicate the conclusions thereof, accompanied by its observations and, where appropriate, proposals for the adaptation of this Decision, to the European Parliament and the Council.

Amendment 9

Annex I, I. Specific Aims, paragraph 1, indent 1

-          Foster the emergence of innovative ICT-based products, services and systems for ageing well at home, in the community, and at work, thus increasing the quality of life, autonomy, participation in social life, skills and employability of older people and reducing the costs of health and social care. This may be based e.g. on innovative utilisation of ICT technology, new ways of customer interaction or new types of value chains for independent living services.

-          Foster the emergence of innovative ICT-based products, services and systems for ageing well at home, in the community, and at work, thus increasing the quality of life, autonomy, participation in social and economic life, skills and employability of older people and ensuring that health and social care is economically viable, whilst increasing the provision of such care in everyday life. This may be based e.g. on innovative utilisation of ICT technology, new ways of customer interaction or new types of value chains for independent living services.

Amendment 10

Annex I, V. Deliverables expected from the implementation of the AAL Joint Programme, paragraph 1

An annual report shall be provided by the dedicated implementation structure, which shall give a detailed overview on the implementation of the AAL Joint Programme (number of projects submitted and selected for funding, use of the Community funding, distribution of national funds, type of participants, country statistics, brokerage events and dissemination activities, etc.) and the progress towards further integration.

 

An annual report shall be provided by the dedicated implementation structure, which shall give a detailed overview on the implementation of the AAL Joint Programme (number of projects submitted and selected for funding, extent to which the male/female equality dimension has been taken into account, use of the Community funding, distribution of national funds, type of participants, country statistics, brokerage events and dissemination activities, etc.) and the progress towards further integration.

 

PROCEDURE

Title

Enhancing the quality of life of older people

References

COM(2007)0329 - C6-0178/2007 - 2007/0116(COD)

Committee responsible

ITRE

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

FEMM

21.6.2007

 

 

 

Drafts(wo)man

       Date appointed

Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg

12.7.2007

 

 

Discussed in committee

20.11.2007

17.12.2007

 

 

Date adopted

17.12.2007

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

25

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Edit Bauer, Emine Bozkurt, Hiltrud Breyer, Edite Estrela, Věra Flasarová, Claire Gibault, Zita Gurmai, Esther Herranz García, Piia-Noora Kauppi, Pia Elda Locatelli, Doris Pack, Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou, Zita Pleštinská, Christa Prets, Karin Resetarits, Eva-Britt Svensson, Anne Van Lancker, Anna Záborská

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Gabriela Creţu, Iratxe García Pérez, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Donata Gottardi, Anna Hedh, Kartika Tamara Liotard, Marusya Ivanova Lyubcheva, Maria Petre


PROCEDURE

Title

Enhancing the quality of life of older people

References

COM(2007)0329 – C6-0178/2007 – 2007/0116(COD)

Date submitted to Parliament

14.6.2007

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

ITRE

21.6.2007

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)

       Date announced in plenary

BUDG

21.6.2007

EMPL

21.6.2007

CULT

21.6.2007

FEMM

21.6.2007

Not delivering opinions

       Date of decision

BUDG

24.10.2007

EMPL

27.6.2007

CULT

25.6.2007

 

Rapporteur(s)

       Date appointed

Neena Gill

26.6.2007

 

 

Discussed in committee

5.11.2007

 

 

 

Date adopted

24.1.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

45

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Šarūnas Birutis, Jan Březina, Renato Brunetta, Philippe Busquin, Jerzy Buzek, Dragoş Florin David, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Den Dover, Adam Gierek, Norbert Glante, Fiona Hall, David Hammerstein, Rebecca Harms, Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, Mary Honeyball, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Werner Langen, Anne Laperrouze, Pia Elda Locatelli, Eugenijus Maldeikis, Eluned Morgan, Angelika Niebler, Reino Paasilinna, Atanas Paparizov, Francisca Pleguezuelos Aguilar, Anni Podimata, Miloslav Ransdorf, Vladimír Remek, Herbert Reul, Teresa Riera Madurell, Mechtild Rothe, Paul Rübig, Andres Tarand, Britta Thomsen, Catherine Trautmann, Nikolaos Vakalis, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Dominique Vlasto

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Neena Gill, Vittorio Prodi, John Purvis, Esko Seppänen, Vladimir Urutchev, Lambert van Nistelrooij

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Pierre Pribetich

Last updated: 12 February 2008Legal notice