Telecommunications and telematics networks in Europe: Michel Carpentier
A special issue of the "Annales des Mines" for December 1993 focuses on information and networks in the European economy. Introduced by Jacques Delors, President of the European Commission, the edition also carries an article by Michel Carpentier, Director-General of DG XIII. Information and communications technologies have, in Europe as elsewhere, undergone considerable development during the past two decades. They have become an essential basis for a European sense of cultural identity. However, they are threatened by competition from Japan and America, whence the need for increasing cooperation in this branch of the economy and for jointly working out a European technological policy. Michel Carpentier discusses the implications of the Maastricht Treaty in the telecommunications area and the role of Community RTD in the development of telecommunications infrastructures and services. He explains the importance of the Fourth Framework Programme, and the reasoning behind the new RTD structure which it is to provide for the period 1994-1998. The Framework Programme concentrates on a limited number of priority generic technologies selected after careful examination of the strengths and weaknesses of industries and research centres in the Community. In the field of information and communications infrastructure, these are: - Telematics technologies in support of applications of general interest; - Technologies for integrated information and communications systems; - Technologies for advanced communications systems; - Information technologies. He points to these technologies as the key to innovation and productivity in all activities, and a driving force behind the prosperity of Europe. It has been recognized at the highest political level that telecommunications and telematics technologies at large are essential to promote harmonious development in all the European regions and to improve economic performance. In so doing they contribute to the emerging picture of a new Europe where the responsibility of the European Community goes far beyond the mere implementation of an economic area.