– having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Europe's Digital Competitiveness Report. Main achievements of the i2010 strategy 2005-2009’ (COM(2009)0390),
– having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Cross-Border Business to Consumer e-Commerce in the EU’ (COM(2009)0557);
– having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2006 on a European information society for growth and employment(1),
– having regard to its resolution of 14 February 2007 - Towards a European policy on the radio spectrum(2),
– having regard to its resolution of 19 June 2007 on building a European policy on broadband(3),
– having regard to its resolution of 21 June 2007 on consumer confidence in the digital environment (4),
– having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,
– having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Culture and Education (A7-0066/2010),
A. whereas Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) permeate virtually all aspects of our lives and are inextricably linked with our desire for a prosperous and competitive economy, for the preservation of our environment, and for a more democratic, open, inclusive society,
B. whereas Europe should play a leading role in creating and applying ICT, bringing more value to its citizens and businesses; whereas the use of ICT contributes to underpinning current structural challenges, achieving a sustainable economic growth,
C. whereas Europe will only reap the benefits of this digital revolution if all EU citizens are mobilised and empowered to participate fully in the new digital society and the person is placed at the core of the policy action; whereas this digital revolution can no longer be thought of as an evolution from the industrial past but rather as a process of radical transformation,
D. whereas the development of the digital society should be inclusive and accessible to all EU citizens and should be supported by effective policies aiming at closing the digital gap within the EU, empowering more citizens with e-skills to fully use the opportunities offered by ICTs,
E. whereas, while broadband is available to more than 90% of the EU’s population, take-up occurs in only 50% of households,
F whereas competitive communications markets are important in ensuring that users receive maximum benefits in terms of choice, quality and affordable prices,
G. whereas Europe's potential is indissolubly linked with the skills of its population, its workforce, and its organisations; whereas without skills there can only be limited economic and social addedvalue from ICT technologies and infrastructures,
H. whereas ICT can be an extremely powerful enabler in efforts to bring positive and sustainable development to countries around the globe and to fight against poverty and social and economic inequalities,
I. whereas citizens will refrain from interacting, expressing their opinions freely and entering into transactions if they do not have sufficient confidence in the legal framework of the new digital space; whereas the guarantee and enforcement of fundamental rights in this context is an essential condition for confidence on the part of citizens; whereas the guarantee of protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and other rights is an essential condition for confidence on the part of business,
J. whereas cybercrimes, such as incitation to commit terrorist attacks, hate-based criminal acts, and child pornography, have increased and are endangering individuals including children,
K. whereas Europe’s cultural and creative industries not only play an essential role in promoting cultural diversity, pluralism of the media and participative democracy in Europe, but also constitute a major engine of sustainable growth and economic recovery in the European Union; whereas particular attention must be paid to cultural and language specificities in the debate on the establishment of a single market in the creative content sector;
L. whereas European democratic society, the participation of citizens in public debate and access to information in the digital world depends on a vibrant and competitive press sector as the fourth pillar of democracy,
M. whereas the lack of progress in creating, disseminating and using ICT is responsible for a delay in growth and productivity, and whereas young businesses with high growth potential working in the area of ICT innovation are hard pressed to establish a sustainable market position,
N. whereas the private and public sectors need to invest in new innovative platforms and services such as, for example, cloud computing, e-health, smart meters, smart mobility, etc; whereas strengthening the single European market will increase interest in investments in the European economy and markets, and lead to further economies of scale,
O. whereas we have not yet achieved a fully functioning digital single market for online and communications services in Europe; whereas the free movement of digital services and cross- border e-commerce is today severely hindered by fragmented rules at national level; whereas European companies and public services will gain economic and social benefits from the use of advanced ICT services and applications,
P. whereas, whilst the Internet is the fastest growing retail channel, the gap between domestic and cross-border e-commerce in the EU is widening; whereas a considerable potential for substantial savings exists through cross-border e-commerce for EU citizens, as identified by the Commission Communication on cross-border business to consumer e-commerce in the EU (COM(2009)0557),
1. Calls on the Commission to come forward with a proposal for an ambitious digital agenda and action plan enabling Europe to progress towards an open and prosperous digital society offering all citizens economic,social and cultural opportunities; proposes that this new digital agenda be called ‘2015.eu agenda’ and be based on the model of the virtuous 2015.eu spiral;
2. Stresses the importance of continuing efforts towards ubiquitous and high-speed access to fixed and mobile broadband for all citizens and consumers, including by safeguarding competition to the benefit of consumers; emphasises that this requires targeted policies that promote competition and efficient investment and innovation in new and enhanced access infrastructures and consumer choice in deliveringaccess, on fair terms and at competitive prices for all citizens, irrespective of location, thereby ensuring that no European citizen faces exclusion;
3. Believes that every EU household should have access to broadband Internet at a competitive price by 2013; calls upon the Commission and the Member States to promote all available policy instruments to achieve broadband for all European citizens, including the use of the European Structural Funds and of the digital dividend for extending mobile broadband coverage and quality; calls, furthermore, on Member States to impart new impetus to the European high-speed broadband strategy, notably by updating national targets for broadband and high-speed coverage;
4. Notes that there are some ambiguities in the State aid rules that may affect Community-supported broadband services, particularly as regards the ability of public authorities to consolidate their own network requirements as the basis for new investment; asks the Commission to deal with these problems urgently;
5. Recalls that particular attention should be paid to rural areas, areas affected by industrial transition, and regions which suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic handicaps, in particular the outermost regions; considers that an appropriate solution to ensure the effective supply of and access to broadband Internet by the citizens of these regions within an acceptable timeframe and at a reasonable cost is through wireless technologies including satellite which enable an immediate ubiquitous connectivity to the Internet backbone;
6. Recalls that the universal service obligations correspond to the minimum set of services of specified quality to which all end-users should have access at an affordable price without distorting competition and imposing an additional burden on consumers and operators; urges the Commission to produce its long-awaited review of universal service without delay;
7. Highlights the importance of guaranteeing disabled end-users access at a level equivalent to that available to other end-users, as urged by the European Parliament in its review of the Universal Service and Users’ Rights Directive; asks the Commission to take the utmost account of disabled users’ needs in the ‘2015.eu agenda’;
8. Calls on the Commission to carry out an impact assessment to examine how an EU-wide number portability can be realised;
9. Underlines the importance of maintaining Europe as the ‘mobile continent’ in the world and ensuring that 75% of mobile subscribers are mobile broadband users with access to high-speed wireless services by 2015;
10. Recalls the necessity to accelerate the harmonised deployment of the digital dividend spectrum in a non-discriminatory manner, without compromising existing and enhanced broadcast services;
11. Calls on the Commission to address through the Radio Spectrum Committee practical and technical requirements to ensure the timely availability of spectrum, with sufficient flexibility, to enable the deployment of new technologies and services such as mobile broadband; calls on the Commission to report on competition and spectrum market developments;
12. Underlines the need for further assessment and research into potential interference between existing and future users of the spectrum so as to mitigate potential negative consequences for consumers;
13. Considers that, as Internet access rates are increasing, Member States should strive to achieve the connection of 50% of EU households to very high-speed networks by 2015and 100% by 2020 enabling a reliable and improved end-user experience in line with consumer expectations and needs; recalls that for achieving these objectives an appropriate policy framework is vital to enable private investment, while safeguarding competition and boosting consumer choice;
14. Urges Member States to transpose the new electronic communications regulatory framework before the established deadline and to fully enforce it and to empower national regulators accordingly; emphasises that the new framework provides for a predictable and consistent regulatory environment which stimulates investment and promotes competitive markets for ICT networks, products and services contributing to an enhanced single market for information society services; insists that any guidance on the application of the telecoms package to Next Generation Access needs to give full effect to the concepts introduced in the directives to foster the deployment of these networks;
15. Considers that it is necessary to increase the effectiveness of regulatory coordination by ensuring that BEREC is fully operational as soon as possible;
16. Calls on stakeholders to adopt open models for communications network deployment to help boost innovation and drive demand;
17. Recalls the need for transparency and predictability of regulation and calls on the Commission to continue to integrate Better Regulation principles in the preparation of legislative and non-legislative initiatives, in particular through targeted and timely impact assessments;
18. Recalls that interoperability and accessibility are interlinked and are the bricks on which an efficient information society will be built in order for products, infrastructures and services to interoperate with each other so that Europeans can access services and data independently of which software they use;
19. Insists that digital competences are crucial for an inclusive digital society and that all EU citizens should be empowered and have the incentives to develop the appropriate digital skills; stresses that digital competences could help disadvantaged people (i.e. elderly people and those on low incomes)to be included in society; calls on the Commission and on the Member States to tackle the disparities between the different groups in society in terms of digital literacy and Internet use, the so-called emerging second digital divide; emphasises the essential commitment to reduce digital literacy and competence gaps by half by 2015;
20. Calls for respect for transparency, accessibility and equality of opportunity in the use of ICT systems, with a view to improving their user-friendliness for the largest possible number of European citizens;
21. Stresses that all primary and secondary schools must have reliable, quality Internet connections by 2013 andvery high-speed Internet connections by 2015 with the support of the regional and cohesion policy where appropriate; emphasises that ICT training and e-learning should become an integral part of lifelong learning activities enabling better and accessible education and training programmes;
22. Recognises the importance of e-learning as a method of education adapted to ICT innovations which can meet the needs of people who do not have ready access to conventional educational methods, but underlines that the need for the exchange of information between teachers, students and other interested parties is an essential prerequisite; takes the view that international exchanges must also be encouraged in order that educational establishments may regain their important role in promoting understanding between peoples;
23. Recommends introducing the notion of digital literacy into education systems, starting as early as the pre-primary level, in parallel with foreign languages, with the aim of producing skilled users as early as possible;
24. Notes the importance of equipping EU citizens with digital skills in order to help them fully exploit the benefits of participating in the digital society; reaffirms the need to ensure that the knowledge, skills, competence and creativity of the European workforce meet the highest global standards and are constantly updated; believes that digital literacy and competences should be central aspects of EU policies as they are the main drivers of Europe’s innovation society;
25. Proposes the launch of a ‘Digital literacy and inclusion action plan’ at EU and Member State levels, notably comprising: specific digital literacy training opportunities for unemployed people and groups at risk of exclusion; incentives for private-sector initiatives to provide digital skills training to all employees; a European-wide ‘Be smart online!’ initiative to make all students, including those engaged in life-long learning and professional training,familiar with the safe use of ICT and online services; and a common EU-level ICT certification scheme;
26. Calls on the Member States to take all necessary measures to inspire young professionals to choose ICT as a career; calls on Member States in the meantime to place more emphasis in their national education programmes on natural science subjects, such as maths and physics, for primary school pupils; takes the view that, as there is a real and urgent need for action to meet the demand for ICT skills in Europe in even the short to medium term, a better data base for e-skills monitoring will be needed; calls on the EU institutions to take further actions to create this data base;
27. Emphasises that all EU citizens should be made aware of their basic digital rights and obligations through a European Charter of citizens’ and consumers’ rights in the digital environment; believes that this Charter should consolidate the Community acquis including, in particular, users’ rights relating to the protection of privacy, vulnerable users and digital content as well as guaranteeing adequate interoperability performance; reaffirms that rights in the digital environment should be considered within the overall framework of fundamental rights;
28. Believes firmly that the protection of privacy constitutes a core value and that all users should have control of their personal data, including the ‘right to be forgotten’; urges the Commission to take account not only of data protection and privacy questions as such, but especially of the specific needs of minors and young adults with respect to these questions; calls on the Commission to submit a proposal for the adaptation of the Data Protection Directive to the current digital environment;
29. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take further action to improve digital security, tofight cybercrime and spam, to enhance users’ confidence and to secure the European Union cyberspace against all kinds of crimes and offences; calls on the Commission and the Member States to effectively engage and enhance international cooperation in this area; reminds Member States that almost half of them have still not ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime and urges all Member States to ratify and implement this Convention;
30. Calls on the Member States to take steps with a view to making secure electronic identification available to everyone in Europe;
31. Insists on safeguarding an open Internet, where citizens have the right and business users are able to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice as provided for by the new regulatory framework; calls on the Commission, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to promote the ‘net neutrality’ provisions, to monitor its implementation closely and to report to the European Parliament before the end of 2010; considers that EU legislation should preserve the ‘mere conduit’ provision established in the e-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) as a crucial way of enabling free and open competition on the digital market;
32. Stresses that pluralism, freedom of the press and respect for cultural diversity are core values and end goals of the European Union; calls on the European Commission therefore to ensure that all proposed EU policies comply with these values and goals;
33. Welcomes the rapid implementation of the legislation on roaming; underlines the further need for constant monitoring of EU mobile roaming prices, including those of data roaming; calls on BEREC to carry out an independent analysis on methods other than price regulation which could be used to create a competitive internal market for roaming; calls on the Commission on the basis of the analysis of BEREC and of its own review, to propose before 2013 a long-term solution to the problem of roaming in order to ensure a well-functioning, consumer-oriented and competitive roaming market thereby leading to lower prices;
34. Stresses that digital services can contribute to Europe making full use of the internal market; calls for an effective policy for a digital single market that makes online services in Europe more competitive, accessible, cross-border and transparent providing the highest possible level of consumer protection and putting an end to territorial discrimination;calls on the EU institutions to remove the key regulatory and administrative obstacles to cross-border online transactions by 2013; calls on the Commission to further its ongoing assessment of the Community acquis affecting the digital single market and to propose targeted legislative action on key impediments;
35. Calls for a study on harmonised rules within the EU to promote a common market in cloud computing and e-commerce;
36. Calls on the Commission to consider measures to further increase the transparency of terms and conditions of cross-border online trade and the effectiveness of cross-border enforcement and redress; underlines that a successful development of online trade requires efficient distribution of products and goods, and therefore highlights the need for a rapid implementation of the 3rd Postal Directive (2008/06/EC);
37. Believes that Member States should ensure the necessary digital environment for enterprises, especially SMEs; calls on Member States to establish ‘one-stop-shops’ for VAT in order to facilitate cross-border e-commerce for SMEs and entrepreneurs and calls on the Commission to support the wide use of e-invoices;
38. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that, by 2015, at least 50% of all public procurements are carried out through electronic means, as established by the Action Plan agreed to at the Ministerial Conference on e-government, held in Manchester in 2005;
39. Takes the view that, almost a decade after their adoption, the Directives constituting the legal framework for the information society appear out of date due to the increased complexity of the online environment, the introduction of new technologies and the fact that EU citizens’ data are increasingly processed outside of the EU; believes that, while the legal issues arising from some Directives can be resolved through an incremental update, other Directives need a more fundamental revision and that the adoption of an international framework for data protection is needed;
40. Emphasises the potential value for citizens and businesses of the digital switchover of public services (e-government) in order to enable a more efficient and personalised provision of public services; calls on Member States to seize ICT tools to improve transparency and accountability of government action and to contribute to a more participative democracy involving all socio-economic groups, raising the awareness of new users, and building up trust and confidence; calls on Member States to develop national plans for the digital switchover of public services, which should include targets and measures for getting all public services online and accessible to persons with disabilities by 2015;
41. Underlines the importance of broadband for European citizens’ health in enabling the use of efficient health information technologies, enhancing the quality of care, extending the geographic reach of healthcare to rural insular, mountainous and sparsely populated areas, facilitating in-home care and reducing unnecessary treatments and costly patient transfers; recalls that broadband can also help protect European citizens by facilitating and promoting public safety information, procedures, disaster response and recovery;
42. Points out that ICTs are particularly important to people with disabilities, who have a greater need than most for technological assistance in their day-to-day activities; considers that people with disabilities have a right to share, on equal terms, in the rapid development of products and services derived from new technologies, since this will enable them to participate in an inclusive information society without barriers;
43. Emphasises the need to develop a ‘Fifth Freedom’ that enables the free circulation of content and knowledge and to achieve, by 2015, a convergent, consumer-friendly legal framework for accessing digital content in Europe, which would improve certainty for consumers and achieve a fair balance between the right-holders’ rights and the general public’s access to content and knowledge; urges the EU, in view of the pace of technological development,to accelerate the debate on copyright and to analyse the impact ofan EU copyright title under Article 118 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU to provide uniform protection of intellectual property rights throughout the Union, both online and offline;
44. Recognises that Europe’s creative and cultural industries not only play an essential role in the promotion of cultural diversity, media pluralism and participatory democracy in Europe, but are also an important engine for sustainable growth in Europe and thus can play a decisive role in the EU’s economic recovery; acknowledges the need to foster an environment that will continue to encourage creative industry; calls in this respect on the Commission to implement the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in all policy initiatives relating to the Digital Agenda;
45. Stresses that a European digital agenda needs to promote the production and dissemination of high-quality and culturally diverse content in the EU in order to incentivise all EU citizens to adopt digital technologies such as the Internet, and tomaximise the cultural and social benefits EU citizens can derive from those technologies; recommends that an EU-level information campaign be initiated in order to achieve a higher level of awareness, notably by the development and dissemination of digital cultural content; calls on the Commission to consider, within its legislative work programme, the possibility of allowing Member States to apply a reduced VAT rate to the distribution of online cultural goods;
46.Underlines that the Internet, which offers many new opportunities for the circulation of and access to the products of creative work, also poses new challengesto securing the European Union cyberspace against new kinds of crimes and offences; notes that sanctions, as one of the possible tools in the field of copyright enforcement, should be targeted at commercial exploiters before individual citizens, as a point of principle;
47. Believes that, in the light of new technologies, new digital delivery means and changing consumer behaviour, the EU needs to promote supply-side policies and to consider the further development of copyright licensing and clearance rules; calls for an improved, more efficient, and more consistent transparent rights management and clearance system for both musical and audiovisual works and for more transparency and competition between collecting rights management organisations;
48. Underlines that greater attention must be paid in the new Digital Agenda to the digitisation of, and improving citizens’ access to, Europe’s unique cultural heritage; urges Member States to provide adequate financial support for the EU digitisation policy, while encouraging both the Commission and the Member States to find appropriate solutions to the current legal obstacles;
49. Expresses its deep concern regarding the future of the European digital library project unless radical changes take place in the fields of the digital format of the library, management, efficiency, practicability, usefulness and large-scale mediatisation of the project;
50. Considers that, alongside consistent deployment of ICT, it is essential to promote ICT research excellence and foster public and private investment in high-risk, collaborative ICT research and innovation; stresses that Europe should be at the cutting edge in the development of Internet technologies, cloud computing, intelligent environments and supercomputers, and ICT low-carbon applications; proposes that the EU ICT research budget be doubled and that the budget for ICT take-up be multiplied by four in the next Financial Perspective;
51. Regrets the fact that, with respect to attracting, developing and keeping academic talent in ICT, Europe continues to lag behind other leading marketplaces and suffers a substantial brain drain due to better working conditions in the US for academics and researchers; stresses that, to address this problem, Europe needs to work with academia, along with industry, to develop a vibrant career development programme that supports the vital role of the scientific research community in a broad-based world-class ICT innovation strategy;
52. Considers that by 2015 all European research institutes and infrastructures must be linked by Gbps ultra-high speed transmission networks, creating a European research community intranet;
53. Calls for greater investment in the use of open source software in the EU;
54. Calls for new investment in research in order to improve implementation of existing digital instruments, so as to guarantee access to cultural products for all citizens;
55. Is concerned about red tape in the EU Framework Programme (FP); calls on the Commission to eliminate red tape by re-engineering FP processes without jeopardising the programme, andby creating a users' board;
56. Calls on the Commission to assess with the Member States in what way Directives 2004/17/EC et 2004/18/EC on public works contracts and the transposition thereof support research and innovation and, where appropriate, to identify best practices; calls on the Commission and the Member States to consider developing public works contract innovation indicators;
57. Recalls that the future competitiveness of Europe and its capacity to recover from the current economic crisis largely depend on its ability to facilitate the general and effective deployment of ICT in undertakings; notes, however, that SMEs are still lagging far behind large undertakings and draws special attention to the guarantees which micro and small undertakings should be given to ensure that they are not deprived of the benefits of the development of ICTs; calls on Member States and the Commission to step up support for SMEs as regards the use of ICT tools to increase their productivity;
58. Calls on the Commission to come forward with a digital plan to promote on-line business opportunities, aimed primarily at offering alternatives to those people recently made unemployed in the context of the financial crisis; takes the view that this plan should consist of making available affordable software and hardware alongside free Internet connection and free-of-charge consultancy;
59. Considers that the 2015.eu agenda should aim at mainstreaming ICT for a low-carbon economy; calls for exploitation of ICT technologies to meet the 20-20-20 objectives of the Climate Change strategy; considers that the implementation of applications such as smart power grids, smart metering, smart mobility, smart cars, smart water management and e-health should be key initiatives of 2015.eu; points out also that the ICT sector footprint should be reduced by 50% by 2015;
60. Considers that international commerce should be driven by the principle of fair trade, with the aim of achieving a proper balance between the opening-up of markets and the legitimate protection of the various economic sectors, with a particular focus on working and social conditions;
61. Considers that the ownership of the 2015.eu agenda by all political and geographical levels (EU, national and regional), in the spirit of multilevel governance, as well as political visibility, are essential prerequisites for effective implementation; proposes in this regard that Digital Agenda Summits be periodically organised to review progress at Union and Member State level and to renew political impetus;
62. Draws the attention of the Commission specifically to the necessity to set smart (specific, measurable, appropriate, realistic and time-based) objectives and targets and adopt an Action Plan mobilising all appropriate EU instruments: funding, soft law, enforcement and, where necessary, targeted legislation across all relevant policy fields (i.e. electronic communications, education, research, innovation, cohesion policy); calls on the Commission to carry out a regular review of the 2015.eu strategy's achievements on the basis of a broad set of indicators enabling a quantitative and qualitative analysis of social and economic impacts; calls upon the Commission and the Member States to ensure appropriate coordination among EU and national and regional programmes in this field;
63. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.
Information and communication technology (ICT) now permeates virtually all aspects of our lives. ICT is inextricably linked with our desire for a prosperous and competitive economy, for the preservation of our environment, and for a more democratic, open, inclusive society. The changes we have been experiencing can no longer be thought of as an evolution from the industrial past; they call for a radical transformation. Business as usual is therefore not an option. Europe will only reap the benefits of this digital revolution if all EU citizens are mobilised and empowered to participate fully in the new digital society.
The policy areas and enabling factors identified in this report form an overall ICT policy framework for the EU over the next five years that the rapporteur proposes to call '2015.eu agenda'. This renewed agenda can be graphically depicted as a virtuous 2015.eu spiral (see Annex). The core of the spiral is the person (both as citizen and as consumer). Each person should be empowered with the appropriate competences and ubiquitous and high-speed access. Citizens also need a clear legal framework that protects their rights and that provides them with the necessary trust and security. This is essential for citizens to enjoy the freedom to access without impediments digital services and content throughout the entire internal market ('fifth freedom'). Finally, knowledge and technologies are indispensable for supporting the competitiveness of our economy and a more prosperous society.
This report is intended to provide guidance and inspiration, notably to the Commission, for the proposal of a comprehensive 2015 strategy and action plan mobilising all appropriate EU instruments: funding, soft law , enforcement and, where necessary, targeted legislation.
I. Empowering citizens and consumers
Europe will only reap the benefits of this digital revolution if all EU citizens are mobilised and empowered to participate fully in the new digital society. This requires confidence by investors to make long term commitments, confidence by governments to move more strongly to e-government and confidence by citizens to use the digital services
1. Ensuring ubiquitous and high-speed access
A prerequisite for the creation of a European knowledge society is that all users have access to resilient and reliable wired and wireless broadband networks. Fixed and wireless technologies need to be widely available and interoperable to allow seamless high rate access to the Internet.
1.1 Achieving a fully connected society
This requires policies that promote access on fair terms and at competitive prices to all communities, irrespective of location, thereby ensuring that no European citizen faces exclusion. A fully connected society means today also a mobile society. The economics of mobile are highly dependant on spectrum cost and availability and it is important that the spectrum in the Digital Dividend bands is made available as soon as practical without compromising existing broadcast or other services.
·Every EU household should have access to broadband Internet at a competitive price by 2013.
·Keep Europe as the mobile continent in the world: 75% of mobile subscribers should be 3G (or beyond) users by 2015.
·Review by the Commission of the universal service obligations by 2010.
·European high-speed broadband strategy, including an update of Member States’ targets (2010-2015).
·Accelerate the harmonised deployment of the Digital Dividend (2010-2015) and support the extension of coverage and quality of broadband through its allocation.
1.2 Deploying the next generation infrastructure
The capital outlays potentially needed for deploying high-speed networks throughout the EU are clearly significant. The new provisions of the telecoms package relating to NGA provide a stable and predictable regulatory environment to stimulate investment while safeguarding competition and rewarding risk
·50% of EU households should be connected to high-speed networks by 2015.
·Swift transposition of the telecoms package (before mid 2011).
2. Digital competences for an inclusive digital society
Europe's potential lies in the skills of its population, its workforce, and its organizations. Without pervasive infrastructure there can only be limited use of ICT and without skills there can only be limited economic and social value from that use. If ignored, the lack of ICT skills will be the bottleneck that prevents the EU from being competitive in the global economy. Skills requirements and tools will differ between age groups, but the necessity is strong in all groups.
·Halve the digital literacy and competence gaps by 2015.
·All primary and secondary schools should have high speed internet connections by 2015.
·All primary and secondary school students should receive training on Internet risks and about a safe and responsible use of it by 2012.
·All adults of working age should be offered ICT training opportunities (2010-2015).
·Digital literacy and competence Action Plan (2010-2015) comprisingy:
-Specific digital literacy training actions (i.e. vouchers) for groups at risk of exclusion.
-Public-private partnerships and incentives to private sector initiatives to provide training to all employed people.
-'Be smart online!' initiative to make all students familiar with the safe use of ICT.
-EU level ICT diploma as part of standard education and EU certification scheme for digital skills acquired outside the formalised education system.
3. Digital rights
When there is no sufficient confidence in a legal framework, citizens refrain from interacting, expressing freely their opinions and entering into transactions. Only through properly empowered and informed citizens will Europe unlock the full social and economic potential of the new online environment.
Citizens should be made aware of the privacy impact of their behaviour in an online context, and should be afforded the right to require the removal of personal data even when the data was initially collected with the consent of the data subject. The fight against cybercrime is another significant challenge. The effective enforcement of EU legislation in this field is often obstructed by cross-border legal issues, such as competent jurisdiction or applicable law.
·All citizens should be aware of their basic digital rights.
·All users should have control of their own data ('right to be forgotten').
·Charter of citizens’ and consumers’ rights in the digital environment by 2012.
·Ratification of Cybercrime Convention by all Member States (2010-2015).
II. An open and competitive digital single market
The well–functioning of the digital economy is imperative for the well–functioning of the entire EU economy. However, the free movement of digital services is today severely hindered by fragmented rules at national level. Businesses are facing many barriers to selling across the borders, mainly because of the different regulations applicable at Member State level in areas such as consumer protection, VAT, recycling of electrical and electronic equipment, specific products regulations, and payment transaction. Unless this is solved, businesses and consumers will never reach the full potential of the digital economy.
4. Implementing effectively the new regulatory framework
Regulatory fragmentation in telecoms costs Europe’s businesses €20 billion per year according to experts' estimates –a cost factor that should be eliminate as soon as possible by bringing the reforms into force, and by applying the new rules effectively.
·Achieving a fully competitive electronic communications market.
·Safeguarding an open Internet respecting the right of citizens to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice.
·Transpose and implement the revised regulatory framework as quickly as possible (before mid 2011).
·BEREC should be operational as soon as possible.
·Harmonised implementation of the 'net neutrality' provisions in the Member States.
·Solution to the problem of roaming avoiding the need to perpetually regulate retail prices by 2013.
5. Boosting the digital services market
We have not achieved yet in Europe a fully functioning single market for online services. Figures speak for themselves: only 7% of all transactions made by European consumers over the web are cross-border; only 35% of the total population in the EU have used advanced internet services in the last 3 months.
5.1 Removing the obstacles hindering the digital services market
Fragmentation in Europe’s market of 500 million consumers prevents economies of scale, to the detriment of businesses and consumers. The EU regulatory framework for the information society was created in a piecemeal fashion over a period of several years (mainly 2000-2005), resulting in a set of EU Directives that each cover one or more different areas of the information society (i.e. Data Protection Directive of 1995, the Electronic Signatures Directive of 1999, the Electronic Commerce Directive of 2000). Almost a decade after their adoption these Directives appear dented by the increased complexity of the online environment. While the legal issues of some Directives can be resolved through a small incremental update, other Directives need a more fundamental revision.
·Eliminate the key regulatory obstacles to cross-border online transactions by 2015.
·Every mobile user should be able to use its device as a mobile wallet by 2015.
·Review the Community acquis affecting the online single market: scoreboard of obstacles plus targeted action on key impediments.
·Develop common EU-wide standards and rules for mobile payments ('m-cash').
5.2 Digital switchover of public services
ICT tools enable enhanced public engagement, increased access to public information and strengthened transparency. Mobility in the Single Market can be reinforced by seamless e-Government services for setting up and running of a business and for studying, working, residing and retiring anywhere in the EU.
·All public services should be available online and accessible by persons with disabilities by 2015.
·50% reduction of the carbon footprint of public services by 2015.
·Develop national plans for the digital switchover of public services including:
-Targets and measures for getting governments, health and education services on line by 2015 and for promoting the take-up by citizens and businesses.
6. Developing the Fifth Freedom: free circulation of content and knowledge
When it comes to the provision of digital content, Europe cannot claim to be the largest marketplace in the world, it is 27 separate markets. Providers of content are confronted with overly complex and nationally based licensing systems, which make it more difficult for digital businesses to provide compelling legal content offers. This not only limits the availability of legal content online, but also stifles the development of new media services. These issues are part of a difficult and urgent debate, but illustrate in any case that a fundamental revision of the current state of online copyright is becoming necessary. We need to accelerate this debate to ensure robust solutions that are balanced and attractive for users and right holders.
·A simple, consumer friendly legal framework for accessing digital content in Europe by 2015.
·Establishment of an EU copyright title under Article 118 of the TFEU by 2013.
·Develop common EU-wide standards and rules for online payment methods (i.e.'m-cash') by 2012.
III. A prosperous economy and society
It is widely acknowledged that there is a direct link between the investment in ICT and economic performance, as it raises the innovation capacities of all industrial sectors in a horizontal way, improves productivity and helps to optimise the use of natural resources. Research and innovation capacity is essential to be able to shape, master and assimilate ICT technologies and exploit them to economic, societal and cultural advantage.
7. Promoting world class research and innovation
Open Innovation requires global interaction throughout the research value chain and easier co-operation with research institutions outside of Europe. Within this context, ICT research and innovation policy should promote the pooling of public and private funding and its focusing it on areas where Europe is or can become a global leader. Research efforts should not be undermined by undue red-tape of public funding programmes.
·Europe at the leading-edge of the development of internet technologies.
·Technological leadership in ICT low-carbon applications.
·Radical reduction of EU Framework Programme red-tape.
·Double EU ICT research budget in next Financial Perspective and multiply by 4 the budget for ICT take-up.
·Develop the Future Internet Public Private Partnership.
·Reengineer Framework Programme processes to eliminate red-tape and create a users' board to ensure user-friendliness.
8. Supporting the competitiveness of the EU economy
Europe’s future competitiveness and its ability to recover from the current economic crisis depend to a large extent on its capacity to facilitate widespread and effective deployment of ICT in businesses. SMEs can be the mainspring of Europe's economic resurgence. But in the use of productivity-boosting ICT tools, SMEs lag substantially behind big firms.
·ICT goods and services trade balance of the EU should be positive by 2015.
·80% of SMEs should use advanced business tools by 2015.
·Promote the emergence of and the use by SMEs of Internet based services, such as cloud computing or software as service models.
9. Mainstreaming ICT for a low-carbon economy
ICT can and should play a major role in promoting responsible energy consumption in households, transport, energy generation and manufacturing. Smart meters, efficient lighting, cloud computing and distributed software can transform usage patterns of energy sources.
·15% ICT enabled CO2 emissions reduction in key sectors by 2020.
·Reduction of the ICT sector footprint by 50% by 2015.
·More energy efficient behaviour by consumers: 50% of homes fitted with smart meters by 2015.
Policy actions will be the subject of a specific INI report.
IV. Enabling factors
In order for the 2015.eu digital agenda to become this strategic framework and to produce the intended results, strong political ownership and effective delivery mechanisms are required.
10. Political Leadership
Multilevel governance and ownership
2015.eu will only be effective if it is 'owned' by all political levels and is implemented as a shared responsibility at EU, national and regional levels.
The organisation Digital Agenda Summits should help to review progress, to reinforce the commitment of the actors involved, to raise the profile of the role of ICT and renew political impulse.
11. Effective delivery
Smart objectives and targets
A strategy without smart(specific, measurable, appropriate, realistic, and time-based) objectives is not more than a declaration of intentions. Member States should set national smart objectives corresponding to their different situations.
EU Action and Legislative Programme
The objectives to be pursued at the EU level shall be spelt out in terms of an Action Plan and, where necessary, targeted legislation. All appropriate delivery mechanism and all EU instruments should be mobilised.
Monitoring and benchmarking
The Commission and the Member States should systematically benchmark, evaluate and monitor progress every year by means of a 2015.eu scoreboard.
The 2015.eu Virtuous Spiral
(and enabling factors)
OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (25.3.2010)
for the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
on a new Digital Agenda for Europe: 2015.eu
Rapporteur: Róża Thun Und Hohenstein
The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:
- having regard to its resolution of 21 June 2007 on consumer confidence in the digital environment(1),
1. Notes that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) must be made available to all sectors of our society, while also recognising that ICT will be a key driver of productivity and economic competitiveness in the future and will be an important element in consolidating further an Online Single Market; considers that, in order to ensure its success, consumers and citizens must be at the core of the development of a Digital Agenda that must aim to make Europe a leading global player in the field of ICT;
2. Stresses the importance of the creative content industries to the Information Society as a fast-growing and dynamic sector contributing to growth and employment;
3. Calls on the Commission to publish an annual review of progress in the implementation of specific policy tools, such as broadband, eInclusion, eHealth, eLearning and eBusiness, in the individual Member States, showing how these tools have been innovatively modified to provide consumers with a service reflecting the state of the art in the ICT sector, and to work towards making as many government services as possible available to the consumer online, while also recognising the need to educate citizens across the EU in order fully to exploit the benefits of ICT;
4. Welcomes the position stated by Commissioner Kroes that the Digital Agenda is only legitimate if full access is guaranteed both for private individuals and for small businesses, and calls on the Commission to make specific proposals for combating the digital divide;
5. Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with Member States, to expand its policy on promoting digital literacy so that all citizens are able to use online technologies in their daily lives with the objective of developing new social, economic and entrepreneurial opportunities;
6. Welcomes the rapid implementation of the legislation on roaming; underlines the further need for constant monitoring of EU mobile roaming prices, including those for data roaming, in order to ensure a properly functioning, consumer-oriented and competitive internal market;
7. Stresses that the Commission and Member States should continue to take action to improve digital security with the aim of informing citizens about ways of preventing digital hazards and boosting their confidence about the new technological resources;
8. Underlines the need to overcome barriers to cross-border e-commerce and boost consumer confidence through the development of an effective policy for a Digital Single Market for Europe by making online services in Europe (such as, amongst other online services, books, audiovisual and music content services) more competitive, accessible, transnational and transparent, in compliance with copyright rules, while providing the highest possible level of consumer protection and putting an end to geographical discrimination (e.g. based on a person's country of residence or where a credit card has been issued);
9. Stresses the need for initiatives in the Member States to improve e-skills among the general public; notes the importance of equipping EU citizens with digital skills in order to help them fully exploit the benefits of being online and participating in the digital society; emphasises the potential this will have for cross-border shopping and accessing digital services;
10. Recognises the importance of a European charter of users' rights that would clarify the rights and obligations of information society consumers; considers that this should include in particular users’ rights relating to digital content and should guarantee basic interoperability performance (particularly among public administrations) and standards, especially regarding the protection of privacy and the rights of vulnerable users (such as improving the accessibility of internet pages for disabled persons); emphasises that a European charter of users' rights should also cover the intellectual property of authors, publishers and content providers; emphasises that a European charter of users' rights should also incorporate the current copyright framework and achieve a fair balance between rightsholders’ rights and public access to content (in particular creative content) and knowledge; notes that sanctions, as one of the possible tools in the field of copyright, should be targeted at commercial exploiters before individual citizens, as a point of principle;
11. Underlines that a global approach is essential when addressing challenges such as data protection and piracy; encourages in this regard close cooperation between the EU and the Internet Governance Forum;
12. Underlines the importance of a strong digital agenda in connection with the completion of the internal market, both in removing administrative and regulatory barriers to cross-border trade and also in improving confidence and trust in online services; notes the fragmentation in the single market for digital services and products; therefore calls on the Commission to address this digital gap, including by increasing the effectiveness of cross-border enforcement and redress;
13. Notes that the legal framework under which Member States can subsidise a universal service is now completely out of date; calls on the Commission to produce its long awaited review of universal service without delay, so that new initiatives to stimulate broadband and mobile access at high data speed are not held back;
14. Notes that there are some ambiguities in the State aid rules that may affect Community-supported broadband services, particularly as regards the ability of public authorities to consolidate their own network requirements as the basis for new investment; asks the Commission to deal with these problems urgently;
15. Highlights the importance of guaranteeing disabled end-users access at a level equivalent to that available to other end-users, as urged by the European Parliament in its review of the Universal Service and Users' Rights Directive; asks the Commission to take the utmost account of disabled users' needs in the '2015.eu agenda';
16. Stresses the need fully to implement the new electronic communications regulatory framework in order to achieve competitive markets for electronic communications networks, products and services, a sound environment for investments in new technologies and an enhanced single market for the information society; points out that pro-competitive economic regulation can only be removed once fully competitive markets are achieved.
RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE
Result of final vote
Members present for the final vote
Pablo Arias Echeverría, Adam Bielan, Cristian Silviu Buşoi, Lara Comi, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, António Fernando Correia De Campos, Jürgen Creutzmann, Evelyne Gebhardt, Louis Grech, Malcolm Harbour, Iliana Ivanova, Philippe Juvin, Sandra Kalniete, Alan Kelly, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Edvard Kožušník, Kurt Lechner, Tiziano Motti, Zuzana Roithová, Heide Rühle, Matteo Salvini, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Laurence J.A.J. Stassen, Catherine Stihler, Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Róża, Gräfin von Thun Und Hohenstein, Bernadette Vergnaud, Barbara Weiler
Substitute(s) present for the final vote
Cornelis De Jong, Frank Engel, Anna Hedh, Morten Løkkegaard, Antonyia Parvanova, Konstantinos Poupakis, Oreste Rossi, Kerstin Westphal
The Committee on Culture and Education calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:
1. Notes the consistent achievements of the i2010 strategy, but calls for more ambitious aims and citizen-orientated priorities under the next strategy, which will offer both economic and social and cultural opportunities for all EU citizens;
2. Requests that the Commission develop a comprehensive definition of the Digital Agenda and make it subject to further discussion with Parliament and the Council, in order to achieve common understanding among the EU institutions on key objectives and goals;
3. Stresses that pluralism, freedom of the press and respect for cultural diversity are core values and end goals of the European Union; calls on the European Commission therefore to ensure that all proposed EU policies comply with these values and goals;
4. Recognises that Europe’s creative and cultural industries not only play an essential role in the promotion of cultural diversity, media pluralism and participatory democracy in Europe, but are also an important engine for sustainable growth in Europe and thus can play a decisive role in the EU’s economic recovery; acknowledges the need to foster an environment that will continue to encourage creative industry;
5. Recognises therefore the urgent need for a clear definition of the Digital Agenda, as an important aspect of European cultural dimension and content; calls in this respect on the Commission to implement the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions in all policy initiatives relating to the Digital Agenda;
6. Stresses that a European digital agenda needs to promote the production and dissemination of high-quality and culturally diverse content in the EU in order to incentivise all EU citizens to adopt digital technologies such as the Internet, and tomaximise the cultural and social benefits EU citizens can derive from those technologies;
7. Underlines that the digital dividend is a valuable spectrum source for not only economic but also social and cultural development; urges the Commission to recognise the value of enabling highly popular existing platforms, such as digital terrestrial television, to evolve, as well as facilitating the development of other new technologies;
8. Calls for a comprehensive and integrated approach at EU level which not only promotes investment in new networks and platforms, but is also concerned with guarantees for the openness, universal accessibility and availability as well as safety of communication devices and infrastructures and includes a suitable policy on fostering media literacy skills, including raising awareness about the use of new technologies;
9. Stresses that a comprehensive, participatory and inclusive approach under the EU’s Digital Agenda heavily depends on the non-discriminatory access to, and the effective interoperability of, services for all citizens;
10. Underlines the importance of data protection in the digital world and urges the Commission to take account not only of data protection and privacy questions as such, but especially of the specific needs of minors and young adults with respect to these questions;
11. Underlines that, to improve digital competitiveness, greater attention must be paid to levelling out regional differences in terms of access to information technology and broadband Internet coverage;
12. Underlines that greater attention must be paid in the new Digital Agenda to the digitisation of, and improving citizens’ access to, Europe’s unique cultural heritage;
13. Calls for new investment in research in order to better implement existing digital instruments, to guarantee access to cultural products for all citizens;
14. Recommends that an EU-level information campaign be initiated in order to achieve a higher level of awareness, notably by the development and dissemination of digital cultural content;
15. Urges Member States to provide adequate financial support for the EU digitisation policy, while encouraging both the Commission and the Member States to find appropriate solutions to the current legal obstacles;
16. Emphasises that Europeana is the right instrument to enable citizens to access and improve their knowledge of European cultural heritage;
17. Asks the Commission in particular to develop, as part of the digital agenda, a modern copyright framework that takes due account of digitisation and convergence of the media, and to encourage the development of the Internet, which offers many new opportunities for the circulation of and access to creative content but also poses risks, e.g. in the form of piracy of copyright-protected content; favours more effective measures to fight on-line piracy and ensure copyright protection;
18. Stresses the need for a balanced European approach to copyright, where access for citizens to creative content online is ensured without compromising the need for proper protection of the rights of authors, musicians and other artists to receive an income from their works;
19. Calls for respect for transparency, accessibility and equality of opportunity in the use of ICT systems, with a view to improving their user-friendliness for the largest possible number of European citizens;
20. Stresses the importance of implementing policies and measures promoting ‘digital literacy’ in order to reduce barriers to social integration and personal development in a lifelong-learning perspective;
21. Highlights the importance of disadvantaged social groups (such as the unemployed, people with low education and the elderly) having access to digital technologies and ICT innovations as a means of social inclusion and of combating poverty and growing inequalities; urges the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to carry on with specific programmes (such as eInclusion and Assistive Technology) aimed at facilitating access for these groups;
22. Recommends regular ICT training sessions in the workplace, with a view to developing employees’ digital skills, and thus improving productivity, as well as ensuring that no-one is excluded from the labour market on grounds of non-existent or limited ICT skills;
23. Recommends introducing the notion of digital literacy into education systems, starting as early as the pre-primary level, in parallel with foreign languages, with the aim of producing skilled users as early as possible;
24. Stresses the importance of educating users in how to handle the resources available on the Internet; recalls, especially, that parents and educators need to help instruct children in safe Internet use;
25. Underlines the importance of teaching school students how to use online resources;
26. Recognises the importance of e-learning as a method of education adapted to ICT innovations which can meet the needs of people who do not have ready access to conventional educational methods, but underlines that the need for the exchange of information between teachers, students and other interested parties is an essential prerequisite. International exchanges must also be encouraged in order that educational establishments might regain their important role in promoting understanding between peoples;
27. Calls on the Commission to take account, in its forthcoming multiannual Youth programmes, of the need for familiarisation with cutting-edge ICT for all young people at all stages of their education, and especially in primary school.
RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE
Result of final vote
Members present for the final vote
Maria Badia i Cutchet, Malika Benarab-Attou, Piotr Borys, Silvia Costa, Santiago Fisas Ayxela, Mary Honeyball, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Petra Kammerevert, Morten Løkkegaard, Emma McClarkin, Marek Henryk Migalski, Katarína Neveďalová, Doris Pack, Chrysoula Paliadeli, Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid, Pál Schmitt, Marco Scurria, Timo Soini, Emil Stoyanov, Hannu Takkula, László Tőkés, Helga Trüpel, Gianni Vattimo, Sabine Verheyen, Milan Zver
Jean-Pierre Audy, Zigmantas Balčytis, Zoltán Balczó, Bendt Bendtsen, Jan Březina, Reinhard Bütikofer, Maria Da Graça Carvalho, Giles Chichester, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Lena Ek, Ioan Enciu, Adam Gierek, Norbert Glante, Fiona Hall, Jacky Hénin, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Sajjad Karim, Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš, Lena Kolarska-Bobińska, Judith A. Merkies, Angelika Niebler, Jaroslav Paška, Herbert Reul, Teresa Riera Madurell, Michèle Rivasi, Paul Rübig, Amalia Sartori, Francisco Sosa Wagner, Konrad Szymański, Britta Thomsen, Patrizia Toia, Evžen Tošenovský, Ioannis A. Tsoukalas, Claude Turmes, Marita Ulvskog, Vladimir Urutchev, Adina-Ioana Vălean, Kathleen Van Brempt, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Henri Weber
Substitute(s) present for the final vote
Lara Comi, António Fernando Correia De Campos, Ilda Figueiredo, Andrzej Grzyb, Jolanta Emilia Hibner, Oriol Junqueras Vies, Ivailo Kalfin, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Vladko Todorov Panayotov, Frédérique Ries, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Hermann Winkler
Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote