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'eEurope initiative' top priority for Lisbon

Accelerating the uptake of digital technologies in Europe and ensuring Europeans have the skills to use them, will be a top priority at the Lisbon European Council later this month, according to the European Commission.

In preparation for the meeting, taking place on 23 to 24...
Accelerating the uptake of digital technologies in Europe and ensuring Europeans have the skills to use them, will be a top priority at the Lisbon European Council later this month, according to the European Commission.

In preparation for the meeting, taking place on 23 to 24 March, the Commission has adopted a progress report on the eEurope initiative, which it hopes will contribute to the discussions, highlighting the need for Member States to fix clear objectives and agree on commitments.

Commission President Romano Prodi's eEurope initiative, launched in December 1999, is designed to allow Europe to fully benefit from the Information Society. It was welcomed by EU leaders who invited the Commission to prepare an action plan for its endorsement by June 2000 and to provide a progress report for the Lisbon summit on Employment, Economic Reforms and Social Cohesion.

Since the launch of the eEurope initiative, the awareness of the impact on European economy and society has increased significantly, says the Commission, and it is now recognised that harnessing the potential of the Internet is crucial for a successful economic policy.

'The Commission wants to ensure that all Europeans have the skills and the opportunity to benefit form the use of digital technologies,' said President Romano Prodi.

'This is why we want to have all European schools connected to the Internet by 2001. What Europe needs now is a firm commitment to the objectives of eEurope at the highest political level.'

The progress and direction of eEurope depends on the outcome of the Lisbon Council, and the Commission hopes the Council will send a strong signal that European leaders are determined to transform Europe into a genuine Information Society through concrete policy actions.

Source: RAPID

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