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European Parliament’s resolution on a “2015.eu agenda”: charter of rights, Net Neutrality, Cybercrime Convention, “Be smart online” in schools, a Fifth Freedom, and more...

On Wednesday, May 5, the European Parliament adopted a wide-ranging resolution on a new Digital Agenda for Europe, dubbed
the “2015.eu agenda”, packed with goals and actions for the next five years.

In its explanatory note, the EP stated that since ICT now permeates virtually all aspects of our lives, “the changes we have been experiencing can no longer be thought of as an evolution from the industrial past; they call for a radical transformation… Europe will only reap the benefits of this digital revolution if all EU citizens are mobilised and empowered to participate fully in the new digital society.”

So what does the resolution set out to do, and how will it do it, to ensure that all EU citizens are mobilised and empowered to participate fully? Key points below…

1. Ensuring high-speed Internet access to achieve a fully connected society (Goals: every EU household should have access to broadband Internet at a competitive price by 2013, while 75% of mobile subscribers should be 3G (or beyond) users by 2015.), and deploying the next generation infrastructure (Goal: 50% of EU households should be connected to high-speed networks by 2015).

2. Overcoming the lack of ICT skills (Goals: halve the digital literacy and competence gaps by 2015; all primary and secondary schools should have high speed internet connections by 2015; all primary and secondary school students should receive training on Internet risks and about a safe and responsible use of it by 2012 – ‘Be smart online’ initiative; all adults of working age should be offered ICT training opportunities (2010-2015).

3. Promoting digital rights (Goals: All citizens should be aware of their basic digital rights through a “Charter of citizens’ and consumers’ rights in the digital environment” by 2012; all users should be given the “right to be forgotten”. EP also proposes ratification of Cybercrime Convention by all member states by 2015), and an open and competitive digital single market by overcoming barriers brought about by fragmented rules at national level.

4. Implementing effectively the new regulatory framework, including that of safeguarding an open Internet respecting the right of citizens to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice, and of harmonising the implementation of Net Neutrality provisions in member states.

5. Boosting the digital services market by removing the obstacles hindering this market, and by making public services go digital.

6. Developing the Fifth Freedom (free circulation of content and knowledge): a fundamental revision of the current state of online copyright is becoming necessary. We need to accelerate this debate to ensure robust solutions that are balanced and attractive for users and right holders.”

7. Promoting world class research and innovation, including the reduction of EU Framework Programme red-tape, and the doubling of EU ICT research budget duing the next financial perspective.

8. Supporting the competitiveness of the EU economy, including the promotion of use by SMEs of Internet-based services, such as cloud computing and software as service models.

9. Mainstreaming ICT for a low-carbon economy, including a reduction of the ICT sector footprint by 50% by 2015, and the installation of smart meters in 50% of households by 2015.

Full text of EP resolution here.

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