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Cooperation in the Information Society: a regional development programme

The European Commission, DG XVI, is planning to publish a call for proposals for its programme "Cooperation in the Information Society". The call is due to be published in the Official Journal of the European Communities before the end of September 1995. This programme is a r...

The European Commission, DG XVI, is planning to publish a call for proposals for its programme "Cooperation in the Information Society". The call is due to be published in the Official Journal of the European Communities before the end of September 1995. This programme is a response to the Commission's call the challenges of the Information Society to be taken fully into account, as presented in its "White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment". The main objective of the programme is to introduce the concept of the Information Society into the regional development policies of the less-developed regions of the EU. This should take into account employment policy priorities, while developing a debate, at regional level, on the Information Society and new related services, both by encouraging their use and by disseminating models of best practice. The fields of action of the programme are: - Strategy and action for the development of an Information Society in the less-developed regions through partnerships between public and private actors in the regions; - Pilot projects demonstrating best practice in regional development through Information Society applications. This includes preparing for the establishment and launch of innovative applications based on information and communication technologies (ICT), notably those which focus on job creation in new economic sectors and on sufficient training in less-developed regions. Those sectors believed to have a particularly strong economic regional development potential will be given priority. The target groups of the programme are as follows: - For the strategy and action plan for the development of the information society: regional authorities, in particular those from NUTS II areas (Nomenclature of Statistical Territorial Units: II level), a significant part of whose populations live in Objective 1, 2, 5b and 6 regions; - For pilot projects: based on the principle of interregional cooperation, proposals should come from at least two different organizations from two regions of a different Community country. Priority will be given to proposals involving three to six regions from at least three different EU Member States. At least three regions participating in the pilot projects should come from Objective 1 zones. The overall budget for the 1995-1999 period is ECU 20 million, ECU 15 million of which comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and ECU 5 million from the European Structural Funds (ESF). The Community will cover up to 50% of the costs of each project with a ceiling of ECU 250,000 per region for the strategy and regional information action plan. For pilot projects, the Community contribution will also cover up to 50% of the costs, including development of the project. A maximum of between ECU 1 million and ECU 3 million will be available for each project.