Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Commissioner Bangemann calls for agreement on core principles in development of Information Society

In a speech at the Information Society and Development (ISAD) conference in South Africa on 14 May 1996, Mr. Martin Bangemann, Commissioner responsible for industry, called for agreement on the core principles of the Information Society, so as to create a truly global, interco...
In a speech at the Information Society and Development (ISAD) conference in South Africa on 14 May 1996, Mr. Martin Bangemann, Commissioner responsible for industry, called for agreement on the core principles of the Information Society, so as to create a truly global, interconnected, and interoperable infrastructure.

Commissioner Bangemann spoke of the opportunities offered by the ISAD conference, bringing together such a broad variety of nations and cultures. He stressed, however, that the differences among the countries meant that they had to work towards narrowing the gap between advanced and less-advanced countries, and towards an increased integration of all nations into the global Information Society. Lack of infrastructure was the major problem hindering interconnection for the less-advanced countries, and the necessary investment would rely on private capital. In order to attract private investment, the regulatory environment would need to be transparent and adaptable, so as to foster a competitive marketplace.

The Commissioner pointed out that the global Information Society, by its nature, could not rely on regulation at a purely national level, and issues such as intellectual property, privacy and data security required regulation at an international level. As regards interoperability, international standards needed to be set, and this process should involve the developing countries.

Mr. Bangemann felt that one of the biggest challenges in implementing the Information Society was to provide the citizen with universal service at affordable prices, a vital concept for ensuring social cohesion between nations. Education was also an area which the Commissioner highlighted as an essential part of the Information Society, particularly in the context of lifelong learning and the adaptation of work skills which are increasingly a part of the lives of workforces in industrialized and developing countries.

The G7 pilot projects in the Information Society were only one example of the work which could be done to implement the Information Society, said Mr. Bangemann. International organizations including UN Agencies and the World Bank are the natural promoters of international projects, and many of these have already started working on projects in the field of the Information Society. In addition, regional cooperation could also be valuable. For instance, the EU has launched discussions with Central and Eastern Europe on Information Society issues, and will shortly hold a conference on the subject with the Mediterranean countries.
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