There is a broad consensus on the need for closer involvement of users in all aspects of information and communication technologies (ICT). The question is how this may be achieved. About twenty-five associations of users, vendors and ICT professionals met last June and September in Brussels to discuss this issue with the European Commission (DG III and DG XIII). As a result of this interaction, the participants have signed a Memorandum of Understanding defining practical initiatives and common practice to organize and encourage mutual cooperation. The partnership for information and communication technology will provide an open and effective dialogue on issues relating to ICT policy with the Commission and other policy makers throughout the European Union. This partnership will take full advantage of the opportunities outlined in the Communications of the Commission on "An open and structured dialogue between the Commission and special interest groups" as well as "Increased transparency in the work of the Commission" (SEC(92) 2272 and SEC(92) 2274 of 2.12.1992). The scope of this partnership covers the use of information and communication technology, which includes telecommunications services and access to information in all areas of social and economic activity. This includes research, development, procurement, education and training, as well as the EU policies which influence the use and application of ICT. The members of the ICT partnership will obtain regular up-to-date information from the Commission and other policy makers in the areas relating to ICT. The Commission involvement will centre on providing the following: - Lists of information sources on the European Union's ICT policies and programmes; - Lists of advisory committees involved with the European Community programmes for ICT user and vendor participation; - Specific information on subjects on the agenda of the round table meetings. All participants in the meeting agreed on the "User involvement in ICT policy". This document analyzes the current situation of ICT users and their future role. It also outlines the means whereby the cooperation between the Commission and the various ICT user and vendors can be improved. The participants also agreed on a "A Partnership in ICT" which sets out the principles guiding the cooperation with the Commission. They decided to launch the following eight specific round tables: - Strategic view of ICT in Europe; - User needs for trans-European services; - Implementation of ONP directives for the benefit of users; - Procurement of ICT producers and services; - Translating business needs into user specifications for standards; - Architecture for multi-vendor networks and platforms; - Review of Community standards policy; - Access to Community information for users. To insure appropriate input for the European Communities' ICT policy, the member associations will be invited by the Commission to discuss important ICT policy matters. There will be a permanent channel for open and sustained dialogue between the Commission and the members; a process which will be pursued in tandem with the development and implementation of the Commission's ICT policy. The Memorandum of Understanding remains open for signature for any association wishing to participate in this initiative. A copy of the Memorandum is available from the given address below. It is hoped to complete the line-up of associations by the middle of March.