IRDAC, the European Commission's Industrial Research and Development Committee, has approved the report of its round table on information and communication technologies. The round table reports that business relies more and more on advanced communications and information technologies, and that cost-effective end-to-end solutions are essential, both for the information and communication technologies industry and for European business. The report suggests that the most promising future markets will be those relating to the creation of innovative content, packaging and value-added information processing. Open access and market-driven standards, as well as user-friendly interfaces and interoperability of services will be essential for success, according to the round table. The report urges the EU to help create favourable conditions for developing information and communications technologies industries, and push for the establishment of standards at global level. Efforts should also be made to understand major trends in society, in order to anticipate user needs and new market opportunities. To achieve success in new markets at global level, European companies need to form partnerships and reinforce cooperation. This must also involve universities, research centres users and government. In particular, users should be at the centre of such partnerships, and must be active in formulating their requirements. The Fifth RTD Framework Programme should serve ambitious medium to long-term goals, according to the report. It suggests that, given the low proportion of RTD expenditure which the Framework Programme makes up, it should be used for strategic purposes. The report calls for the structure of the new Framework Programme to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the technologies, and states that it should also ensure that other policy areas are taken into consideration.