G7 Ministerial Conference on the Information Society
The European Commission will host the G7 Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Brussels on 25-26 February 1995. The conference will begin on 25 February 1995 with a round table of 45 business leaders. This will be followed by a ministerial conference, which will discuss the following issues: - The regulatory framework and competition policy; - The development of the information infrastructure; - The provision of access to it and applications, and the social, societal and cultural aspects. Parallel to the ministerial conference, an information showcase will take place. This educational exercise, organized in cooperation with companies and organizations, will complement the work pursued at the conference by demonstrating the reality of the information society, the opportunities it provides and the ease of access for citizens. A consensus has been emerging between G7 governments in recent months that the development of the information infrastructure and of its applications is one of the most important endeavours of the 20th century. The potential rewards are attractive: - Better social integration; - Enhancing the progress of democratic values and sharing as well as preserving cultural creativity, traditions and entities; - Improving the quality of life; - A stimulus to economic growth, job creation and higher economic efficiency; - A better balance in economic and social progress between nations; - A smoother integration of developing countries into the global economy; - The capacity to solve common societal problems. The global information society needs to be built on a set of common rules, a tolerance of diversity and habits of collaboration. Easing its emergence, like dealing with all major "shifts", means overcoming uncertainties and a break in continuity. While it is bringing our world closer together, existing differences between national systems are becoming more apparent and the difficulties they create are worsening. The information society will contribute to an open participation of developing countries into the global economy. The progress of democracy, education and training will be favoured by a much easier access to human knowledge and a constant exchange of information. New information and communication technologies, increasingly affordable as their costs continue to fall, will help developing nations "leapfrog" entire stages of development in setting up their own infrastructures. G7 members will need to provide information and support, especially for less-advanced countries. In this respect, involving third countries in collaborative actions, especially less-advanced nations which lack the capacity to act alone, is of great importance.