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Report on social changes and Information Society

The High level group of experts set up to examine the social changes associated with the development of the Information Society has published its final report. The report, entitled "Building a European Information Society for us all" advocates a socially inclusive Information ...
The High level group of experts set up to examine the social changes associated with the development of the Information Society has published its final report. The report, entitled "Building a European Information Society for us all" advocates a socially inclusive Information Society and proposes a broad policy framework to help build an Information Society that improves quality of life for all Europeans.

The chairman of the group of 14 independent experts emphasizes the importance of putting technology at the service of the people. To ensure this the report puts forward a policy framework which considers the broad range of opportunities and challenges offered by the Information Society. The group argues that there is an urgent need to coordinate policies aimed at enhancing the job creating potential of the Information Society, and to make rapid progress towards establishing common European social standards as part of the creation of a level playing field in the social sphere.

Among the main elements of the report are:

- The need to enable those sectors of the Information Society which have job creating potential to grow rapidly to realise this;
- Ensuring that people have the necessary skills to use information and new technology effectively by creating a "learning society";
- Matching the development of new forms of work organization made possible by new technologies with adequate protection of workers;
- Maintaining social cohesion, and ensuring that groups of society are not excluded through lack of access to the Information Society or inability to use the new tools. To ensure this, people must not only be assisted to adapt to the new tools, but these tools must be adapted to the needs of people;
- New, more effective regional policy instruments are required to ensure that regions with a development shortfall can benefit from the new technologies.

The report is a contribution to the debate on the Commission's Green Paper entitled "Living and Working in the Information Society: People first", published in September 1996. The Commission is planning to publish a follow-up communication on "The labour market and the social dimension of the Information Society" shortly, on the basis of responses to the Green Paper.

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