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Commission establishes High-Level Expert Group on the Social and Societal Implications of the Information Society

Mr. Padraig Flynn, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, announced on 25 April 1995 the establishment of a High-Level Expert Group on the Social and Societal Aspects of the Information Society. The establishment of the Group was foreseen in the Commission's...

Mr. Padraig Flynn, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, announced on 25 April 1995 the establishment of a High-Level Expert Group on the Social and Societal Aspects of the Information Society. The establishment of the Group was foreseen in the Commission's action plan "Europe's way to the information society" which was adopted by the Commission in July 1994. In announcing the Group, Mr. Flynn said that the information society has enormous potential to create more jobs, better work and a higher quality of life, although it will succeed only if it develops with the support of European citizens. The Group would be expected to provide practical advice on the implications of the information society and how to maximize its advantages for the benefit of society as a whole. The Group is made up of 14 external experts appointed on a personal basis, with a wide range of experience and expertise in this area. It will meet for the first time in May 1995 and provide a preliminary report in November 1995. A further report will be available at the latest in April 1996. As a first step, the Group will work on the basis of the priority themes mentioned in the Commission's report for the December 1994 Essen European Council. These are: - Qualitative and quantitative impact of the introduction of new information and communication technologies on employment, and conditions for optimal exploitation of new sources of employment linked to technological progress; - Impact of new technologies on work organization (flexible enterprise, teleworking) and potential consequences on social legislation (labour law, social security, including health and safety at work); - Consequences of the information society on the cohesion of Europe's regions and towns; - Opportunities offered by new technologies for adaptation of education systems to the needs of the information society; - Opportunities offered by new technologies for improving management of systems devoted to healthcare and quality medical care; - Opportunities offered by new technologies for improving the labour market situation and developing human resources. A special European colloquium will be organized in 1996 to present the Group's findings, and in the second half of 1996, the Commission plans to present a Green Paper on the social and societal implications of the information society. The following will be invited to participate in the High-Level Group: - President : Mr. Luc Soete, University of Limburg, Director of MERIT (Maastricht Economic Research Institute); - Mr. Johan Blankert, President of NCW (Nederlands Christelijk Werkgeversverbond); - Mr. Gerhard Bosch, Head of Labour Market Department, Institute of Work and Technology; - Mrs. Birgitta Carlson, Senior Advisor, TELIAS (Swedish telecommunications provider); - Mr. Manuel Castells, Professor, University of Madrid; - Mr. Liam Connellan, Former Director-General of Confederation of Irish Industry (CII); - Mrs. Ursula Engelen-Kefer, Vice-President of DGB, Member of the Economic and Social Committee and Governing Board of the ILO; - Mr. Chris Freeman, founder and former Director of the Science Policy Research Unit, Sussex University; - Mrs. Lisbeth Knudsen, Chief Editor, Det Fri Aktuelt; - Mr. Yves Lasfargue, CREFAC (Centre d'Etude et de Formation); - Mrs. Isabelle Paillart, Master of Conferences on Sciences and Communications, University of Stendhal, Grenoble; - Mr. Jorma Rantanen, Director-General, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health; - Mr. Armando Trindade, Professor, Universidade Aberta; - Mr. Pierre Verderio, Director for Research Department, FIS-CISL (Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori).

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