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Parliament committee endorses e-economy and innovation

The European information society came a step nearer on 20 June, when the European Parliament's industry committee adopted three reports on the '.eu' domain name, radio spectrum space and promotion of innovation. The report by Luxembourg MEP Colette Flesch on the '.eu' domain ...

The European information society came a step nearer on 20 June, when the European Parliament's industry committee adopted three reports on the '.eu' domain name, radio spectrum space and promotion of innovation. The report by Luxembourg MEP Colette Flesch on the '.eu' domain name made clear that this was considered an essential element in speeding up of the development of e-commerce and an e-economy in Europe. It would also provide a 'space' on the Internet which recognises the European Union, just as individual Member States are recognised at the moment. The regulation that the report is based on would create the framework for the establishment of a registry, which would take care of the running of the domain and have contracts with both the European Commission and ICANN, the corporation responsible for domain names on the Internet. MEPs also agreed that an amendment allowing a Member State to prevent registration of geographical, geopolitical or historical information 'which impact on the territorial organisation of a Member State'. The committee also wanted to ensure that the Internet management aspect of this regulation would be based on non-interference, with self management and self regulation. The adoption of the report was passed with 48 votes in favour and one abstention and comes under the codecision procedure. The industry committee also adopted a report which claims that a European framework may be needed to deal with the increased demand for radio spectrum space. The report by German MEP, Angelica Niebler pointed out that the variety of methods used in exercises such as granting of new licenses for mobile phones in Europe (some via auctioning for financial reward, some via selection on a best provider basis), has led to a disparate approach across Europe. It suggests that harmonisation of these methods through a European framework would help avoid distortions of competition and create uniform conditions. In response the committee said that the Commission should be authorised to grant mandates to spectrum management bodies, but with the condition that this involves input from national experts from the Member States and reiterated that decisions needed on this issue needed to be settled on a codecision basis. Finally, the committee adopted a non-legislative report by Austrian MEP Paul Rübig on the Commission's communication on innovation in a knowledge-driven economy. It was agreed that the creation of an innovation culture in the European Union was the responsibility of the institutions and should be encouraged via some of the present initiatives in this area, giving the eContent programme as an example.