The European Commission has adopted an action plan entitled ‘Europe’s Way to the Information Society’. This is intended to implement the political objectives decided by the Community’s heads of state at the European Council in Corfu last month, says the Brussels Commission. The initiative is to cover the regulatory and legal aspects of Europe’s communications, […]
The European Commission has adopted an action plan entitled ‘Europe’s Way to the Information Society’. This is intended to implement the political objectives decided by the Community’s heads of state at the European Council in Corfu last month, says the Brussels Commission. The initiative is to cover the regulatory and legal aspects of Europe’s communications, as well as taking steps towards the realisation of trans-European networks, services and applications. It is also expected to take on board the recommendations of the Bangemann report, published in May. A key recommendation of the Bangemann report was to maximise private sector involvement. In order to create a framework for this, the European Commission says it will seek agreement of member states on a clear deadline for liberalising telecommunications infrastructures – that sounds like an exceedingly tough call. In addition, it will organise a ‘major workshop’ on standardisation, interconnection of networks and interoperability of services this November.
Infringement procedures by 1996
The Commission also says it will publish a report before January 1996 on guaranteeing universal service and its financing, and will start infringement procedures against member states that have not put the European Directive on tariff structures into law. Leased-line tariffs must be cost-orientated and cost-accounting systems must be verifiable, says the Commission. The Brussels bureaucracy further says that a Green Paper on intellectual property rights will be prepared in the coming months. A Green Paper on the legal protection of encrypted broadcasts is reportedly already in preparation. It will also organise a conference on the worldwide information infrastructure, to be held in Brussels, as arranged at the last Group of Seven meeting of the leading Western economic powers. More generally, the Commission says its role will be to act as a catalyst in raising public awareness of the opportunities that would be available; in stimulating public and private sector partnerships, and in sponsoring targeted trans-European projects. Actions by the Commission will include further development of advanced European communication networks and services. The Commission proposes the establishment of a European Forum for Basic Services, which will set the way for a Euro-approach to the introduction of basic services such as electronic mail, file transfer and interactive video. An Information Society Project Office will ‘soon’ be set up to act as the interface between the Commission and the outside world, in particular industry, the research community and service providers. It is not thought that the Commission proposals will meet with resistance from the European Parliament, which clashed with the Commission earlier this month over procedural matters, since the proposals are not directly legislative in nature.