Tag Archives: ON

Online access to Europe’s cultural heritage

Online access to Europe’s cultural heritage

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Online access to Europe’s cultural heritage

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Audiovisual and media

Online access to Europe’s cultural heritage

Europeana, the European digital library, which will provide the public with a single access point to Europe’s cultural heritage. The main issues addressed concern digitisation, online accessibility and digital preservation of cultural material.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 11 August 2008 – Europe’s cultural heritage at the click of a mouse: Progress on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation across the EU [COM(2008) 513 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication sets out the progress achieved thus far and the steps that still need to be taken in order to develop Europeana, the European digital library. Particular emphasis is on the actions carried out by Member States to implement the Commission Recommendation 2006/585/EC of 24 August 2006 on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation, which was endorsed in the Council Conclusions of 20 November 2008.

Europeana will be a common multilingual point of access to digitised European material. In 2007, its development received new impetus, especially through the creation of the European Digital Library Foundation that brings together different cultural sectors. The demo site of Europeana was published in February 2008 with the aim that the prototype will be launched in November of the same year. This prototype is to be developed into a fully operational service within the following two years.

The issues yet to be addressed in the development of Europeana include the:

  • incorporation of in-copyright material;
  • provision of multilingual search and retrieval functions;
  • integration of collaborative tools;
  • promotion of Europeana to the wider public.

On the basis of the above-mentioned Recommendation, Member States have progressed on the following:

  • digitisation – Most Member States have established overviews of digitisation activities, as well as strategies and plans for digitisation. However, the overviews are not used in any systematic manner and the strategies and plans do not provide quantitative targets. Further efforts are needed in these areas, as well as in financial planning. While some of the Member States have provided substantial amounts of resources to digitisation, additional funding is needed. This could be achieved through public-private partnerships or through private sponsoring. It is also essential that the output of digitisation continues to rise. To this end, many Member States have established digitisation centres;
  • online accessibility – Many of the Member States have either established or are establishing national portals, which may act as aggregators for Europeana. Most are also working on the standards that are essential for interoperability in Europe. In order to make the availability of in-copyright material possible, some Member States have begun to involve private content holders in their work. With regard to orphan works though, progress seems to be limited. In this regard, some Member States expressed their wish for a European level solution. Similarly, little progress has been made in connection with clearing rights for digitising and making available online works that are out of print or distribution, or to barriers to the use of public domain works. More attention should be given in particular to the latter issue, as it is imperative to continue providing access to such works;
  • digital preservation – Most Member States have begun to formulate digital preservation strategies and some have already established specific preservation plans; yet, the follow-up and financial backing to these remain limited. Multiple copying for preservation purposes is already allowed in most of the Member States, and even the remaining Member States are contemplating the necessary legislative actions. Similarly, the legal deposit legislation is already updated in most Member States, but the differences in materials covered and the deposit criteria are substantial. Many of the Member States have also implemented legislation relating to web harvesting by specified institutions (usually the national library). Otherwise, access to web-harvested material remains restricted due to intellectual property and privacy rights.

Even though Member States have progressed considerably in making cultural information available online, further action needs to be taken in particular with regard to:

  • funding of and quantitative targets for digitisation;
  • support for Europeana;
  • legislative actions and other measures to enable the digitisation and accessibility of orphan works and works that are out of print or distribution;
  • financial and organisational measures relating to digital preservation.

The High Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries, set up in 2006, has given practical assistance to Member States in implementing the above Recommendation. The Group’s work focuses in particular on public-private partnerships, scientific information and copyright issues.

In order to develop the services provided by Europeana, advancements in technical issues are needed, especially to achieve cheaper and better quality digitisation and preservation techniques. The Commission has supported this progress through the Framework Programmes for Research and Development and the eContentplus programme. It has asserted its commitment to continue providing support through policy initiatives and funding programmes for the development of Europeana and other projects that improve the accessibility and preservation of digital cultural material.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – “Europeana: next steps” [COM(2009) 440 final – Not published in the Official Journal.
This Communication sets out the challenges to come concerning the implementation of Europeana.
Europeana’s results are positive, in that it gives access to more than 4.6 million digitised books, newspapers, film clips, maps, photographs and documents and receives contributions from more than 1,000 cultural institutions.
However, the Communication notes several problems connected with:

  • an imbalance between Member States in terms of the provision of cultural material. France has contributed 47% of the digitised objects, while other Member States such as Poland and Hungary have contributed mainly books;
  • copyright, in that recent works enjoy protection which limits access to them, unlike works from before 1900. It is important to establish collaboration with rightholders in order to improve access to protected works. Another challenge lies in the legal consequences of digitisation;
  • the financing and governance of Europeana.

Further efforts are therefore necessary in order to ensure that citizens can enjoy the services of Europeana fully.

Council conclusions of 20 November 2008 on the European digital library Europeana [Official Journal C 319 of 13.12.2008].
In its conclusions the Council of the European Union expressed satisfaction with the gradual establishment of the Europeana European library and the commitment of Member States to this project. In order for the project to be a success, the Council invites Member States to:

  • continue their strategy of implementation of their national objectives;
  • promote synergies between them in the process of digitisation and increasing online accessibility of cultural material;
  • incorporate digital cultural material in Europeana;
  • facilitate digitisation and online access to orphan works.

The European Commission is invited to encourage the development of Europeana and to promote it in Europe and the world, as well as to encourage the establishment of public-private partnerships to develop it.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

On-the-spot checks and inspections on the premises of economic operators

On-the-spot checks and inspections on the premises of economic operators

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about On-the-spot checks and inspections on the premises of economic operators

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Fight against fraud > Protecting the European Union’s financial interests

On-the-spot checks and inspections on the premises of economic operators

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96 of 11 November 1996 concerning on-the-spot checks and inspections carried out by the Commission in order to detect fraud and irregularities affecting the European Communities’ financial interests.

Summary

1.The Regulation applies to the on-the-spot checks and inspections carried out by the Commission in order to counter fraud, in particular where there are grounds for suspecting that irregularities * have been committed against the Community budget by economic operators *. The regulation, which establishes additional general provisions to Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95, applies to all areas of the Community’s activities. It does not affect the Member States’ powers to prosecute criminal infringements under national law.

Carrying out on-the-spot checks and inspections

The European Commission is to carry out on-the-spot checks and inspections on the premises of economic operators:

  • to investigate possible serious or cross-border irregularities or irregularities involving economic operators acting in several Member States;
  • to reinforce on-the-spot checks and inspections in a Member State in order to protect the Community’s financial interests more effectively and ensure an equivalent level of protection within the European Union;
  • at the request of a Member State.

Prior to the on-the-spot checks and inspections the Commission is required to inform the Member State(s) concerned in good time in order to obtain all the assistance required. The on-the-spot checks and inspections are to be prepared and carried out by the Commission in close cooperation with the competent authorities of the Member State concerned. They will be carried out under the authority and responsibility of “Commission inspectors”, i.e. duly authorised officials or other staff, who will comply with the rules of procedure in the Member State concerned.

The economic operators must allow the inspectors access to their premises, land and other places used for business purposes, and means of transport. If an economic operator resists an on-the-spot check or inspection, the Member State concerned will give the Commission’s inspectors such assistance as they need to allow them to discharge their duty. This assistance will be given by the competent authorities of the Member State in compliance with national law.

In the interests of efficiency, the Commission will ensure that similar checks and inspections are not carried out at the same time in relation to the same matters on the premises of the economic operators concerned under sectoral rules. It will take into account inspections that are being or have been carried out by the Member State under national law.

Ensuring access to the necessary information and documentation under national law

Commission inspectors are to have access, in compliance with national criminal procedure law, to all the information on the operations concerned which are required for the proper conduct of the checks and inspections. They may avail themselves of the same inspection facilities as national administrative inspectors and in particular copy relevant documents.

On-the-spot checks and inspections may concern, in particular:

  • business books and documents such as invoices, lists of terms and conditions, pay slips, statements of materials used and work done, and bank statements,
  • computer data;
  • production, packaging and dispatching systems and methods;
  • physical checks as to the nature and quantity of goods or completed operations;
  • the taking and checking of samples;
  • the progress of works and investments for which financing has been provided, and the use made of completed investments;
  • budgetary and accounting documents;
  • the financial and technical implementation of subsidised projects.

Where necessary, it will be for the Member States, at the Commission’s request, to take the appropriate precautionary measures under national law, in particular in order to safeguard evidence.

Information acquired in relation to the on-the-spot checks and inspections is covered by professional secrecy and by the Community provisions on data-protection.

The Commission inspectors’ reports constitute admissible evidence in administrative or judicial proceedings of the Member State in which their use proves necessary.

Key terms used in the act
  • economic operator means: natural or legal person or any other entity on which national law confers legal capacity (Article 7 of Regulation No 2988/95);
  • “irregularity”: any infringement of a provision of Community law resulting from an act or omission by an economic operator, which has, or would have, the effect of prejudicing the general budget of the Communities or budgets managed by them, either by reducing or losing revenue accruing from own resources collected directly on behalf of the Communities, or by an unjustified item of expenditure (Article 1(2) of Regulation No 2988/95).

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 2185/96. 18.11.1996 OJ L 292 of 15.11.1996

Ongoing enlargement

Ongoing enlargement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Ongoing enlargement

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enlargement > Ongoing enlargement

Ongoing enlargement

The enlargement process is based on a certain number of principles and instruments which have been drawn up gradually, especially in the context of the fifth enlargement. Its objective is to prepare the candidate countries to assume the obligations deriving from Member State status. The Copenhagen criteria determine the conditions to be respected by the candidate countries: the political and economic criteria and the adoption and application of European legislation (acquis). This process requires considerable effort on the part of the candidate countries, which are judged on their own merits, especially in terms of strengthening institutions and reforms. The EU has therefore established various instruments to support and assist them and to evaluate their preparation and needs at each stage of the enlargement process.

ENLARGEMENT STRATEGY

  • The accession process for a new Member State
  • Enlargement Strategy 2011-2012
  • 2010-2011 Enlargement Strategy
  • Enlargement strategy 2009-2010
  • Enlargement Strategy 2007-2008
  • Enlargement strategy 2006-2007: challenges and integration capacity
  • Enlargement strategy 2005: roadmap for the Western Balkans
  • Progress with enlargement: Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia (2004)
  • Enlargement strategy and 2003 report on the candidate countries

CANDIDATE COUNTRIES

  • Turkey
  • Croatia
  • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Iceland
  • Opinion on Montenegro’s accession to the European Union

INSTRUMENTS

Financial assistance

  • Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)
  • The operational priorities of the European Investment Bank
  • Overhaul for EU Solidarity Fund

Sectoral cooperation

  • Civil society dialogue between the EU and candidate countries
  • Black Sea Synergy
  • Cooperation with Non-EU Member Countries on nuclear safety
  • European Training Foundation (ETF)

TURKISH CYPRIOT COMMUNITY

  • Relations with the northern part of Cyprus

Online gambling

Online gambling

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Online gambling

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Single market for services

Online gambling (Green Paper)

In 2008, gambling revenues reached EUR 75.9 billion. Online gambling is the fastest-growing gaming sector. This growth, and that of the Internet, makes monitoring these cross-border services difficult. National legal frameworks vary enormously from one EU country to another, imposing different rules for licensing, related online services, payments, public interest objectives, and the fight against fraud. The Commission therefore decided to launch a consultation to identify common practices which would facilitate the provision of cross-border services. The aim is to achieve a regulated internal market for online gambling.

Document or Iniciative

European Commission Green Paper of 24 March 2011, on on-line gambling in the Internal Market [COM(2011) 128 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Green Paper aims to launch a debate on the development of online gambling in the European Union (EU). There are currently two national models applied in this sector, namely:

  • a strictly regulated framework within which licensed operators provide services;
  • a strictly controlled monopoly.

However, the development of extensive illegal or “black” online markets (markets consisting of unlicensed operators) or “grey” markets poses a number of challenges. It is for this reason that the European Commission wishes to consult the various stakeholders in order to better frame the development of such activities at cooperative or cross-border levels.

Definition and current legislation

Gambling falls under Article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) and is governed by service provision rules. The terms covers a wide range of service activities which individuals can access directly by electronic means, such as:

  • online sports betting;
  • casino games;
  • media games;
  • promotional games;
  • gambling services operated by and for the benefit of recognised charities and non-profit making organisations;
  • lottery services.

The Internet and other technological platforms (i.e. mobile telephones) are used in online gaming:

  • to offer gambling services to consumers;
  • to allow consumers to bet or gamble against each other (betting exchanges or online poker);
  • as a distribution technique (e.g. lottery tickets).

Communication techniques used by providers of online gaming services for promotion and supply

The main communication techniques used to promote online services are:

  • TV advertising;
  • printed press advertising;
  • online commercial communications;
  • sales promotions (e.g. premium offers);
  • direct marketing;
  • sponsorship agreements;
  • online banners and pop-ups on non-gambling sites.

Payment services and pay-outs

Generally, operators require customers to deposit funds on player accounts before playing by using:

  • credit cards;
  • e-Wallets;
  • bank transfers;
  • pre-paid cards;
  • cash transfers.

Customer identification

Customer identification is necessary for the protection of minors, the prevention of money laundering and fraud, and “know-your-customer” controls. However, the absence of mutual recognition of identification services across the EU raises difficulties.

Public interest objectives

The Commission identifies three public interest objectives which may be valid for Member States in defining their national online gambling policies:

  • consumer protection: this involves protecting gamblers against fraudulent services, particularly gamblers suffering from addiction. Member States already have available a number of instruments such as age limits, bans on the use of credit or restrictions on certain forms of games. The Commission proposes to discuss the effectiveness of such instruments in protecting consumers;
  • public order: Member States should seek to prevent fraud and unfair games, as well as money laundering. The Commission notes the application of certain types of measures such as customer due diligence, payment controls and operational controls in combating these practices;
  • financing of public interest activities: methods for channelling gambling revenues vary considerably from one Member State to another. The Commission wishes to examine more closely systems of revenue returns to event organisers, and the risks of “free-riding” revenue channelling schemes through the provision of online gambling services.

Payment blocking and liability regimes

Member States have a wide range of practices to manage the licensing, regulation and monitoring of online gaming. Through this Green Paper, the Commission wishes to analyse the actual role of regulatory bodies in the Member States.

Gambling authorities could cooperate with national and European stakeholders. The Commission wishes to strengthen this type of cooperation.

In some Member States, there are blocking schemes to limit illicit and cross-border online gambling services by:

  • Domain Name System (DNS) filtering;
  • Internet Protocol (IP) blocking;
  • Payment blocking, based on the operators’ Merchant Category Code (MCC).

The Commission intends to develop tools to foster this type of procedure at cross-border level, as well as other practices.

Online learning: eLearning Programme

Online learning: eLearning Programme

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Online learning: eLearning Programme

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Information society > Digital Strategy i2010 Strategy eEurope Action Plan Digital Strategy Programmes

Online learning: eLearning Programme (2004-06)

The eLearning programme was aimed at improving the quality and accessibility of European education and training systems through the effective use of information and communication technologies.

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 2318/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 December 2003 adopting a multiannual programme (2004 to 2006) for the effective integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education and training systems in Europe (eLearning Programme).

Summary

Aims

The general objective of the programme was to encourage the efficient use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in European education and training. The aim was to promote quality education and to adapt education and training systems to the needs of a knowledge-based society and the European social cohesion model.

The specific objectives of the programme were to:

  • explore and promote ways and means of using e-learning to strengthen social cohesion and personal development, foster intercultural dialogue and counteract the digital divide;
  • promote and develop the use of e-learning in enabling lifelong learning in Europe;
  • exploit the potential of e-learning for enhancing the European dimension in education;
  • encourage better-structured cooperation in the field of e-learning between the various Community programmes and instruments and the activities organised by Member States;
  • provide mechanisms for improving the quality of products and services and for ensuring their effective dissemination and the exchange of good practice.

Actions

Actions taken under the eLearning programme covered:

  • Promotion of digital literacy. Actions in this area related to the contribution of ICT to learning, particularly for people who could not benefit from conventional education and training, owing to their geographical location, social situation or special needs. The aim was to identify good examples and build synergies between the many national and European projects for these target groups. A number of studies and a high-level expert group were to produce recommendations in this field.
  • Creation of European virtual campuses. Actions in this area aimed to improve integration of the virtual dimension in higher education. The objective was to encourage the development of new organisational models for European virtual universities (virtual campuses) and for exchanging resources and sharing projects (virtual mobility) by building on existing European cooperation arrangements (Erasmus programme, Bologna process) and adding an e-learning dimension to their operational tools (European Credit Transfer System, European Masters, quality assurance, mobility).
  • Development of e-twinning of primary and secondary schools and promotion of teacher training. Launched on 14 January 2005, action in this area aimed to strengthen and further develop school networking, more specifically through a European school twinning project designed to allow all schools in Europe to set up pedagogical partnerships with counterparts elsewhere in Europe, thus promoting language learning and intercultural dialogue and enhancing awareness of the model of a multilingual and multicultural model of European society.
  • Transversal actions and monitoring of e-learning. Actions in this area were dedicated to the promotion of e-learning in Europe by building on the monitoring of the eLearning action plan. The objectives were to disseminate, promote and adopt good practices and the results of the many projects and programmes financed at European level or by Member States, as well as to reinforce cooperation between the various actors involved, in particular by fostering partnerships between the public and private sectors.

Implementation of the programme also included activities to ensure the dissemination of results (provision of information on the internet, showcasing projects and other events, etc.).

Participating countries

The programme was open to the then 25 Member States of the European Community, the EEA-EFTA countries and the candidate countries for accession to the European Union (EU).

Implementation of the programme

The Commission ensured that the eLearning programme was implemented. It established synergies with other Community programmes and actions and encouraged cooperation with international organisations. The Commission worked together with a committee of representatives of Member States to draw up the annual work plan and budget, as well as all other measures necessary for the implementation of the programme.

The Member States, for their part, had the task of identifying appropriate correspondents to cooperate closely with the Commission as regards relevant information about e-learning use.

Budget

The financial framework for the period from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2006 was EUR 44 million. This budget was allocated as follows:

  • 10 % to e-learning for promoting digital literacy;
  • 30 % to European virtual campuses;
  • around 45 % to e-twinning of schools in Europe and the promotion of teacher training;
  • a maximum of 7.5 % to transversal actions and monitoring of the eLearning action plan;
  • a maximum of 7.5 % to technical and administrative assistance.

Funding was granted following invitations to tender and calls for proposals.

Monitoring and evaluation

The Commission ensured regular monitoring of the programme in cooperation with Member States. In order to assess the general impact of the programme and the relevance and effectiveness of the different actions, the eLearning programme was the subject of an external evaluation.

Background

At the Lisbon European Council of 23 and 24 March 2000, the Heads of State and Government set a new objective for the EU: “to become the world’s most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy by 2010”. Since then, Europe has already made substantial progress in introducing ICT, but much remains to be done in order to develop its educational uses. The eLearning programme aimed to plug these gaps by intensifying the efforts already undertaken.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 2318/2003/EC

20.1.2004 – 31.12.2006

OJ L 345 of 31.12.2003

Related Acts

Report from the European Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 6 April 2009 – Final Report on the implementation and impact of the second phase (2000-2006) of the Community action programmes in the field of education (Socrates) and vocational training (Leonardo da Vinci) and the multiannual programme (2004-2006) for the effective integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education and training systems in Europe (eLearning) [COM(2009) 159 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The eLearning programme, together with Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci, was integrated into the new lifelong learning programme 2007-13. Consequently, the final evaluation of the programme for the period 2004-06 was produced jointly with the other two programmes. This report is based on that external evaluation, including an analysis of reports from participating countries.
The positive impact of the eLearning programme was apparent in:

  • short-term results;
  • the transnational cooperation between institutions;
  • the quality of teaching, learning and curricula;
  • the development of digital literacy.

Overall, the programme provided a significant impact on education and training, contributing to the creation of a European education area. The impact was both quantitative and qualitative, influencing the individual, institutional and policy-making levels. In particular, the eLearning programme provided an added value in tackling socio-economic disparities and in establishing a culture of cooperation among European institutions.
Throughout its duration, the programme funded the following activities:

  • eTwinning projects involving 7 813 schools (23 812 schools registered for participation);
  • 21 projects on virtual campuses;
  • 25 projects on digital literacy;
  • 16 projects on transversal actions.

Decision No 1720/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing an action programme in the field of lifelong learning [Official Journal L 327 of 24.11.2006].

The eLearning programme has not been renewed as a sectoral programme, but its objectives have been integrated into the lifelong learning programme (2007-13).
The general aim of this programme is to foster interchange, cooperation and mobility between European education and training systems, so that they become a world quality reference. The development of innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practices is one of the key elements of the programme.


Another Normative about Online learning: eLearning Programme

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Education training youth sport > Education and training: general framework

Online learning: eLearning Programme (2004-06)

The eLearning programme was aimed at improving the quality and accessibility of European education and training systems through the effective use of information and communication technologies.

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 2318/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 December 2003 adopting a multiannual programme (2004 to 2006) for the effective integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education and training systems in Europe (eLearning Programme).

Summary

Aims

The general objective of the programme was to encourage the efficient use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in European education and training. The aim was to promote quality education and to adapt education and training systems to the needs of a knowledge-based society and the European social cohesion model.

The specific objectives of the programme were to:

  • explore and promote ways and means of using e-learning to strengthen social cohesion and personal development, foster intercultural dialogue and counteract the digital divide;
  • promote and develop the use of e-learning in enabling lifelong learning in Europe;
  • exploit the potential of e-learning for enhancing the European dimension in education;
  • encourage better-structured cooperation in the field of e-learning between the various Community programmes and instruments and the activities organised by Member States;
  • provide mechanisms for improving the quality of products and services and for ensuring their effective dissemination and the exchange of good practice.

Actions

Actions taken under the eLearning programme covered:

  • Promotion of digital literacy. Actions in this area related to the contribution of ICT to learning, particularly for people who could not benefit from conventional education and training, owing to their geographical location, social situation or special needs. The aim was to identify good examples and build synergies between the many national and European projects for these target groups. A number of studies and a high-level expert group were to produce recommendations in this field.
  • Creation of European virtual campuses. Actions in this area aimed to improve integration of the virtual dimension in higher education. The objective was to encourage the development of new organisational models for European virtual universities (virtual campuses) and for exchanging resources and sharing projects (virtual mobility) by building on existing European cooperation arrangements (Erasmus programme, Bologna process) and adding an e-learning dimension to their operational tools (European Credit Transfer System, European Masters, quality assurance, mobility).
  • Development of e-twinning of primary and secondary schools and promotion of teacher training. Launched on 14 January 2005, action in this area aimed to strengthen and further develop school networking, more specifically through a European school twinning project designed to allow all schools in Europe to set up pedagogical partnerships with counterparts elsewhere in Europe, thus promoting language learning and intercultural dialogue and enhancing awareness of the model of a multilingual and multicultural model of European society.
  • Transversal actions and monitoring of e-learning. Actions in this area were dedicated to the promotion of e-learning in Europe by building on the monitoring of the eLearning action plan. The objectives were to disseminate, promote and adopt good practices and the results of the many projects and programmes financed at European level or by Member States, as well as to reinforce cooperation between the various actors involved, in particular by fostering partnerships between the public and private sectors.

Implementation of the programme also included activities to ensure the dissemination of results (provision of information on the internet, showcasing projects and other events, etc.).

Participating countries

The programme was open to the then 25 Member States of the European Community, the EEA-EFTA countries and the candidate countries for accession to the European Union (EU).

Implementation of the programme

The Commission ensured that the eLearning programme was implemented. It established synergies with other Community programmes and actions and encouraged cooperation with international organisations. The Commission worked together with a committee of representatives of Member States to draw up the annual work plan and budget, as well as all other measures necessary for the implementation of the programme.

The Member States, for their part, had the task of identifying appropriate correspondents to cooperate closely with the Commission as regards relevant information about e-learning use.

Budget

The financial framework for the period from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2006 was EUR 44 million. This budget was allocated as follows:

  • 10 % to e-learning for promoting digital literacy;
  • 30 % to European virtual campuses;
  • around 45 % to e-twinning of schools in Europe and the promotion of teacher training;
  • a maximum of 7.5 % to transversal actions and monitoring of the eLearning action plan;
  • a maximum of 7.5 % to technical and administrative assistance.

Funding was granted following invitations to tender and calls for proposals.

Monitoring and evaluation

The Commission ensured regular monitoring of the programme in cooperation with Member States. In order to assess the general impact of the programme and the relevance and effectiveness of the different actions, the eLearning programme was the subject of an external evaluation.

Background

At the Lisbon European Council of 23 and 24 March 2000, the Heads of State and Government set a new objective for the EU: “to become the world’s most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy by 2010”. Since then, Europe has already made substantial progress in introducing ICT, but much remains to be done in order to develop its educational uses. The eLearning programme aimed to plug these gaps by intensifying the efforts already undertaken.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 2318/2003/EC

20.1.2004 – 31.12.2006

OJ L 345 of 31.12.2003

Related Acts

Report from the European Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 6 April 2009 – Final Report on the implementation and impact of the second phase (2000-2006) of the Community action programmes in the field of education (Socrates) and vocational training (Leonardo da Vinci) and the multiannual programme (2004-2006) for the effective integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education and training systems in Europe (eLearning) [COM(2009) 159 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The eLearning programme, together with Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci, was integrated into the new lifelong learning programme 2007-13. Consequently, the final evaluation of the programme for the period 2004-06 was produced jointly with the other two programmes. This report is based on that external evaluation, including an analysis of reports from participating countries.
The positive impact of the eLearning programme was apparent in:

  • short-term results;
  • the transnational cooperation between institutions;
  • the quality of teaching, learning and curricula;
  • the development of digital literacy.

Overall, the programme provided a significant impact on education and training, contributing to the creation of a European education area. The impact was both quantitative and qualitative, influencing the individual, institutional and policy-making levels. In particular, the eLearning programme provided an added value in tackling socio-economic disparities and in establishing a culture of cooperation among European institutions.
Throughout its duration, the programme funded the following activities:

  • eTwinning projects involving 7 813 schools (23 812 schools registered for participation);
  • 21 projects on virtual campuses;
  • 25 projects on digital literacy;
  • 16 projects on transversal actions.

Decision No 1720/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing an action programme in the field of lifelong learning [Official Journal L 327 of 24.11.2006].

The eLearning programme has not been renewed as a sectoral programme, but its objectives have been integrated into the lifelong learning programme (2007-13).
The general aim of this programme is to foster interchange, cooperation and mobility between European education and training systems, so that they become a world quality reference. The development of innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practices is one of the key elements of the programme.