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First meeting of the High-Level Expert Group on the Social and Societal Aspects of the Information Society

The European Commission's High Level Expert Group on the Social and Societal Aspects of the Information Society held its first meeting on 18 May 1995 in Brussels.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Group, the Commissioner for Social Affairs, Mr. Padraig Flynn, highlight...
The European Commission's High Level Expert Group on the Social and Societal Aspects of the Information Society held its first meeting on 18 May 1995 in Brussels.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Group, the Commissioner for Social Affairs, Mr. Padraig Flynn, highlighted the important role the Group would play in helping the Commission to launch an agenda for change, which will help equip Europe and Europeans for the challenges of the information society.

The Commission places great emphasis on the need to understand the social implications of the information society. It wants a plan of action established to evaluate the consequences of the development of the information society and identify the measures that will allow all European citizens to take advantage of the expected benefits.

Mr. Flynn recognized that the key issue to be addressed in the first phase is employment: the amount of work which will be available in the information society, who will get access to this work, and when and where the work will be created.

The Commissioner said that the principal concern was that citizens should seek to articulate their demands on the information society rather than just letting it determine their future. The solution of social problems should be the starting point for any inquiry into the information society. He stressed that people must not be excluded from the information society just because they do not have the right diplomas, or because they are living in the wrong part of the city or a peripheral region, or for reasons of gender, age, race or disability.

He concluded by pointing out the key social paradox facing the information society: the means in which to convert work that needs doing into real jobs which are economically attractive.

The President of the Group, Mr. Luc Soete, said that he is hopeful that with the wide range of expertise available, the Group will be able to provide the Commission over the next six months with some clear indications of where policy action is needed and, in a number of cases, what sort of policies would seem appropriate.

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