Tag Archives: Technology

Ageing well in the Information Society: Action Plan on Information and Communication Technologies and Ageing

Ageing well in the Information Society: Action Plan on Information and Communication Technologies and Ageing

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Ageing well in the Information Society: Action Plan on Information and Communication Technologies and Ageing

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

Ageing well in the Information Society: Action Plan on Information and Communication Technologies and Ageing

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 14 June 2007: Ageing well in the Information Society – An i2010 initiative – Action Plan on Information and Communication Technologies and Ageing [COM(2007) 332 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The ageing of Europe’s population poses a challenge to the European market for employment, social services systems and health care. But it also provides an economic and social opportunity: Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) will give rise to new, more accessible products and services satisfying the needs of older people.

The action plan seeks to promote and coordinate the development of ICTs associated with services for older people in the European Union (EU), to enable them to:

  • prolong their working life, while maintaining a work-life balance;
  • stay socially active and creative, through networking and access to public and commercial services. This would reduce the social isolation of older people, particularly in rural areas;
  • age well at home: ICTs must encourage a higher quality of life and degree of independence.

Europe must adopt ICT for ageing well *. These technologies may indeed become a driver for jobs and growth, as well as a successful lead market.

For the moment, the market for services associated with ageing remains fragmented. Furthermore, none of the stakeholders (older people, industry, public authorities) have an overview of the problems and the solutions needed. Market development is hampered by the lack of exchange of experience and good practice. Standards, procedures, reimbursement schemes and provisions related to disability vary from one Member State to another. Finally, technical barriers stand in the way: older people do not necessarily have the technological tools and know-how needed.

In order to rationalise this system the Commission is encouraging stakeholders to place users at the centre of their thinking.

The objectives of the Commission’s action plan are therefore aimed as much at citizens as at businesses and public authorities. The objectives are:

  • for citizens, a better quality of life and better health;
  • for companies, increased market size and market opportunities in the internal market for ICT and ageing, better skilled and productive workforce and a stronger position in the growing markets worldwide;
  • for public authorities, cost reductions, increased efficiency and better overall quality of health and social care systems.

The action plan is structured around four areas:

  • removing legal and technical barriers to development of the market, by assessing the markets and facilitating the exchange of good practices between Member States. The Commission proposes assessing the technological possibilities and identifying guidance and target dates. This is with a view to removing legal and technical barriers to the uptake of ICTs for independent living. The Member States should, in parallel, strengthen the implementation of current legal requirements for e-Accessibility;
  • raising awareness and building consensus through the cooperation and development of partnerships between the different stakeholders. ICT for ageing well will be a key contribution to the European e-Inclusion Initiative in 2008. The launch of an internet portal for ICT and ageing is also planned.
  • accelerating take-up of technologies, for example, through a set of pilot projects and a European award scheme for smart homes and independent living applications;
  • stimulating research and innovation, through immediate support for shared research agendas between the public and private sectors, dedicated to “Ambient Assisted Living”. This agenda seeks to encourage the emergence of innovative ICT-based products, services and systems for the benefit of Europe’s ageing population.

The Commission seeks to improve ICT-based research for older people in the 7th framework programme (FP7) for research, technological development and demonstration activities. Other initiatives are being launched within the context of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme. These will be accompanied by a new European Shared Research Programme. In total, the programmes will increase investment in ICT research and innovation to over EUR 1 billion.

In the future, better coordination between Member States is necessary to stimulate market-oriented research in this field. To achieve these objectives, a common research initiative “Ageing well in the Information Society” will be set up. Furthermore, businesses, industry, service providers, etc. will be encouraged to establish dialogue, particularly through technology platforms, to allow for more rapid emergence of innovative products, services and systems.

Background

This action plan forms an integral part of the European Union i2010 initiative – An information society for growth and jobs. The Commission had previously adopted a strategy on accessibility of online products and services in 2005, and in 2006 the Member States reached agreement in Riga on a policy agenda  for an accessible information society based on inclusion.

Ageing in Europe is an important economic and social challenge: in 2020, a quarter of Europe’s population will be over 65, while expenditure on retirement and health care will have tripled by 2050. However, older people are also consumers that should not be discounted, with global wealth in excess of EUR 3 000 billion.

Key terms used in the act
  • ICT for ageing well: Information and Communication Technologies dedicated to services to persons, aimed at making these services more accessible and effective for an ageing population, particularly in terms of health.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 1 June 2005: “i2010 – A European Information Society for growth and employment” [COM(2005) 229 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 8 November 2007: “European i2010 initiative on e-Inclusion – To be part of the information society”. [COM(2007) 694 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Mobile broadband services

Mobile broadband services

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Mobile broadband services

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Information society > Radiofrequencies

Mobile broadband services

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 30 June 2004 on mobile broadband services [COM(2004) 447 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This Communication examines the broader policy and regulatory environment for mobile broadband services. The principal aim is to ensure access to information at all times and in all locations within the European Union and to maintain European leadership in the sector. The Communication indicates how the challenges may be met and, in drawing it up, the Commission consulted widely with industry players through the Mobile Communications and Technology Platform and a workshop on the mobile sector held in June 2004.

EU labour productivity has improved considerably over recent years and this progress has been based to a great extent on electronic communications services, which are essential for Europe’s economic competitiveness. Two trends can be discerned in this sector in Europe:

  • broadband growth of more than 80% in 2003;
  • mobile revenues have overtaken those of fixed telephony.

Looking forward, the convergence of telecommunications, broadcasting and internet will result in the proliferation of high speed multimedia services delivered over mobile networks. For example, mobile users will be able to shop and pay on-line and receive a whole range of audio-visual services such as music and video.

For the Commission, it is vital to overcome the political and technological barriers to achieving the aims that have been set in order to ensure the success of these systems and to prepare the future by means of concerted action at EU level.

Research and innovation

The EU will only maintain its competitive advantage by focussing on innovation. Competitiveness on the world market is based not only on profitability but also on the capacity to innovate. The Commission intends to launch a comprehensive programme of integrated activities to promote cooperation between the major players in the pre-competitive research phase.

There is a growing fragmentation of the mobile and wireless communications market. To prevent this, research must address the entire value chain, from technological development to the development of services, which will require European and then global standards and platforms.

In the context of the preparation of the 7th Framework Programme, the “Mobile Communications and Technology Platform” initiative provides an opportunity to put in place a formal technology platform in the mobile and wireless communications sector. The aim of this structure would be to draw up a strategic research agenda, achieve the necessary critical mass for research and innovation and mobilise substantial public and private funding.

The interoperability of services, content and terminals is critical for achieving the goal of mass market adoption. In the Commission’s opinion, without interoperability, markets could collapse. To prevent fragmentation of the markets for third generation mobile communication systems, interoperability between the various services and terminals is vital.

A number of fora are involved in service specification and standardisation with the aim of providing service interoperability. The cooperation between the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the Global Certification Forum (GCF) and the agenda of the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) provide a good basis on which to build. However, the increased complexity brought about by a converging environment presents a new challenge that needs to be addressed.

Technical challenges

The Commission aims to stimulate the demand for mobile communications and the development of new services. To do this, it is essential to increase the range and quality of the content available on mobile. There are, however, many obstacles to be overcome, which the Commission hopes to eliminate so as to ensure the fast take-up of mobile services in Europe. The Commission intends to conduct a study on technical and other potential obstacles.

A secure environment for content is crucial for the development of these services. The rights to protected digital content require new business models that guarantee the effective payment of intellectual property rights.

National law applies for determining the compensation to be paid for the reproduction of protected content for private use. In deciding on the level of compensation, the availability of digital rights management systems and services for the distribution of content over mobile communications needs to be taken into consideration.

Legally, the traditional system of territorial licences granted by national rightholders applies for mobile communications. These licences no longer meet the needs of the information society in the enlarged European Union. The Commission is therefore proposing Community licences for mobile content issued using a one-stop-shop mechanism (COM(2004) 261).

The Commission is aiming for greater flexibility in radio spectrum usage in the EU. The Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) is currently reviewing approaches to spectrum management for broadband mobile services. The Group favours a coordinated European approach based on market-oriented solutions and free or “unlicensed” use of spectrum with exclusive usage rights.

The use of mobile phone pre-paid cards as a means of payment to purchase products and services, other than communication services, may be classed as the use of electronic money. Mobile broadband services extend this use of electronic money but, pending the creation of a new legal framework providing for a single EU payment area, mobile operators are faced with uncertainties regarding the current Community rules on electronic money and money laundering (Directive on electronic money).

In the short term, the mobile industry needs an appropriate interim solution that provides a degree of legal certainty. The Commission will lay down criteria for national regulators in applying the Directive. The regulatory authorities should aim to apply only the minimum regulation needed to ensure appropriate coverage of risks for financial stability and consumer protection.

From networks to people

Third generation mobile communications will require a greater number of base stations than previous GSM networks owing to the higher frequency bands used. Problems with obtaining legal authorisation in each of the Member States are hampering the physical deployment of 3G networks. More generally, the Commission takes the view that the health and safety of citizens is adequately protected, provided that exposure of the public remains below EU limits.

The use of personal and sensitive data concerning individuals and companies requires reliable and secure identification and authentication procedures. A common interoperable authentication framework is needed to ensure general purpose authentication across Europe.

International cooperation on research and development is essential. The Commission takes the view that the benefits of open and global standards should be exploited to achieve global interoperability.

Related Acts

Commission Communication of 11 June 2002, Towards the Full Roll-Out of Third Generation Mobile Communications [COM(2002) 301 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

This Communication summarises the situation in the sector. The roll-out of third generation mobile services (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) or “3G” services) has been slower than expected and is facing a number of difficulties. The Communication also identifies the main challenges that must be overcome so that 3G services can fulfil their role in building a competitive, dynamic information society.

European Research Area and European Space Policy

European Research Area and European Space Policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Research Area and European Space Policy

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Institutional affairs > Building europe through the treaties > The Lisbon Treaty: a comprehensive guide

European Research Area and European Space Policy

The Treaty of Lisbon strengthens European Union (EU) action in the field of research. It sets the objective of creating a genuine European Research Area. In addition, the Treaty of Lisbon creates a legal basis enabling the EU to conduct a European Space Policy.

The field of research has particular importance in the EU. It was already at the heart of the Lisbon Strategy (2000). The new Europe 2020 strategy continues in this vein and sets the objective of making the EU a smart economy based on the development of knowledge and innovation. Research and technological development are essential fields in achieving this objective.

EUROPEAN RESEARCH AREA

The Treaty of Lisbon introduces a legal basis for the creation of a European Research Area. Such an area is intended to permit, in particular, the free movement of researchers, scientific knowledge and technologies. To this end, the EU encourages the removal of fiscal and legal obstacles to cooperation in the field of research.

The Treaty of Lisbon also authorises the Council and the Parliament to take all measures necessary for the creation of the European Research Area. The two institutions adopt these measures in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure.

The Council and the Parliament must therefore adopt a multiannual framework programme for the funding of all European projects in the field of research. This framework programme is adopted in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure. The budget for the Seventh Framework Programme (2007-2013) is EUR 50.5 billion, attesting to the importance attached to research in the EU. Moreover, it is the world’s largest international research programme.

Finally, in the field of research there is a special distribution of competences between the EU and Member States. According to Article 4 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, the EU and the Member States have shared competence in the field of research and space. However, and contrary to the basic rule governing shared competence, the exercise of the EU’s competence does not limit the competence of Member States, which may therefore take action on their own account.

EUROPEAN SPACE POLICY

The Treaty of Lisbon introduces a new article permitting a European space policy (Article 189 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU) to be drawn up. The main objectives of the space policy are to promote scientific and technical progress and industrial competitiveness.

The European space policy therefore includes activities in the areas of research, technological development, and the exploration and exploitation of space. In accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, the Council and the European Parliament may establish a space programme covering the measures taken in these areas.

Moreover, the European space policy is broadly linked with the activities of the . This Agency is an international organisation which is completely independent of the EU. Its main mission is to draw up and implement common programmes in order to develop cooperation between EU Member States in the field of space.

The Treaty of Lisbon therefore confirms the cooperation between the EU and the European Space Agency. This cooperation is based on a framework agreement which entered into force in May 2004. This framework agreement led in particular to the creation of a Space Council bringing together representatives of the Council of the EU and the Council of the European Space Agency.

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors' assets

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

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Justice freedom and security > Judicial cooperation in civil matters

Enforcing judgments: the transparency of debtors’ assets

Even with a court judgment obtained, recovering cross-border debts may be difficult for creditors in practice if no information on the debtors’ assets or whereabouts is available. Because of this, the European Commission has adopted a Green Paper launching a public consultation on how to improve the recovery of debts through possible measures such as registers and debtor declarations.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 6 March 2008 on the effective enforcement of judgments in the European Union: the transparency of debtors’ assets [COM(2008) 128 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The late and non-payment of debts is detrimental to business and customers alike, particularly when no information is available on the debtor’s assets or whereabouts. This is a particular cross-border issue in debt recovery and has the potential to affect the smooth running of the internal market. In launching a public consultation, the European Commission has outlined the problems of the current situation and possible solutions in this Green Paper. Interested parties can submit their comments by 30 September 2008.

State of play

The search for a debtor’s address and information on his financial situation is often the starting point for enforcement proceedings. At national level, most Member States mainly use two different systems for obtaining information, either:

  • systems of declaration of the debtor’s entire assets or at least a part of it to satisfy the claim;
  • search systems with specific information (registers).

In this Green Paper, the European Commission focuses more on a series of measures instead of one single European measure to allow the creditor to obtain reliable information on the debtor’s assets and whereabouts within a reasonable period of time. Possible measures include:

  • drawing up a manual of national enforcement laws and practices: at present, there is very little information on the different enforcement systems in the 27 European Union Member States. Such a manual could contain all sources of information on a person’s assets, which could be accessed in each country; contact addresses, costs, etc.
  • increasing the information available and improving access to registers: the main sources of information on the debtor are public registers, such as commercial or population registers. However, these vary from one Member State to the next. The Commission is asking whether to increase information available in and access to commercial registers and in what way access to existing population registers should be enhanced. Furthermore, access to social security and tax registers by enforcement authorities may be increased, while respecting rules of data protection and social and fiscal privacy.
  • exchange of information between enforcement authorities: currently, enforcement bodies are not able to directly access the (non-public) registers of other Member States which are open to national enforcement bodies. In addition, there are no international instruments dealing with the exchange of information between national enforcement bodies. In the absence of a Europe-wide register, enhancing cooperation between national enforcement authorities and direct exchange of information between them may a possible solution.
  • measures relating to the debtor’s declaration: enforcement bodies have in several Member States the option to question the debtor directly regarding his assets, whereas in some Member States the debtor’s declaration is made in the form of a testimony before the enforcement court. In some Member States, the debtor has to fill out mandatory forms, and in others a debtor’s declaration does not exist at all. The European Commission is considering introducing a European Assets declaration, obliging the debtors to disclose all assets in the European judicial area. In this way, the transparency of the debtor’s assets would not be limited by the territoriality of the enforcement proceedings.

Deployment of the rail signalling system ERTMS/ETCS

Deployment of the rail signalling system ERTMS/ETCS

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Deployment of the rail signalling system ERTMS/ETCS

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Transport > Rail transport

Deployment of the rail signalling system ERTMS/ETCS

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the deployment of the European rail signalling system ERTMS/ETCS [COM(2005) 298 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Europe has more than twenty different signalling and speed control systems for rail transport. Although expensive, on-board systems in locomotives fitted with transducers, which react to signals transmitted from the track, are necessary for both safety and traffic management. Nevertheless, the coexistence of various systems is a barrier to the development of international rail traffic, as locomotives have to be able to ‘read’ the signals from different networks when crossing borders. The Thalys train for example, which links Paris and Brussels in particular, has seven on-board systems. This results in increased costs and breakdown risk, as well as being a headache for drivers, who have to be able to juggle several interfaces. In addition, this segmentation represents an obstacle to the integration of rail transport on a European scale, while road transport benefits from the absence of such barriers.

Considering the abolition of these barriers to be fully in line with the Lisbon Strategy (since it will increase the competitiveness of the rail sector while promoting its integration), on 4 July 2005 the European Commission published a Communication on the deployment of the European rail signalling system ERTMS/ETCS.

The importance of signals for safety

The twenty different systems coexisting in Europe are currently developed on a national level. They are very different in terms of performance and safety. Several fatal accidents, including those in Bologna in 2005, Albacete in 2003 and London in 1999, show that a more effective signalling system with automatic train speed control could improve the safety of the railways.

A series of extra costs for operators

Locomotives operating internationally also have to be equipped with a variety of on-board systems able to process the information transmitted by track-side systems. As adding on-board systems is expensive, and sometimes even impossible, some trains have to stop at borders in order to change locomotive. As a result, for the Thalys train the numerous signalling systems to be integrated push up the cost of manufacturing each trainset by 60 %. Such obstacles make the connection and integration of the different European networks problematic.

The Commission therefore calls for the gradual transition to a system that is common to the various Member States: the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS).

This has two components:

  • GSM-R, a radio communication system based on standard GSM (used by mobile telephones), but using various frequencies specific to rail;
  • ETCS (European Train Control System), which not only allows permitted speed information to be transmitted to the driver, but also monitors the driver’s compliance with these instructions.

The deployment of ETCS

While the deployment of GSM-R, based on successful public GSM technology, is taking place quickly, ETCS has been developed specifically for the rail sector and takes longer. It requires the installation of a specific module on board the train and for the transducers on the track to use the same ETCS format. Given the long service life of rail equipment (more than 20 years), it is impossible to renovate the entire network at once. The Commission therefore estimates that it is inevitable that there will often be at least one system coexisting with ETCS on board and/or on the track.

There is a lot at stake in the long term, especially with respect to reducing external costs, such as pollution, noise, safety and congestion. In addition, it appears that the costs of ETCS, used on its own, may be considerably lower than those of conventional systems. Having a single system would also reduce the complexity of the locomotives and thereby simplify maintenance operations. According to UNIFE (the Association of European Railway Industries), ETCS could consequently provide an increase in line capacity of between 2 and 20 % when compared with existing systems.

In favour of a rapid migration strategy

The Commission is planning a rapid migration strategy, with the aim of quickly reaching a critical mass of ETCS equipment. It therefore hopes that a sufficient number of traction units will be equipped over a period of ten or twelve years, while at the same time large interoperable international corridors are created.

The entire rail sector also hopes that such a strategy can be implemented, having endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding signed on 17 March 2005 with the Commission. In concrete terms this entails investments amounting to 5 billion in order to reach the critical mass by 2016. The Commission proposes to support up to 50 % of the investments. Support may diminish over time in order to speed up the migration. The rail sector has also pledged to assist the Member States in preparing national deployment plans.

The role of the European Railway Agency

In this context, it consequently has to be ensured that Community funds allocated elsewhere in the sector, and especially to infrastructure projects, do not work against the completion of an interoperable trans-European network. For this reason, the Commission hopes that failure to comply with the technical specifications of interoperability in general, and the use of systems other than ETCS in particular, even when legally justified, will be considered as minus points when evaluating the projects. In addition, it is important to guarantee that trains equipped with an ETCS and GSM-R module made by one manufacturer are able to run on a network equipped by another manufacturer.

The Commission therefore proposes to make the European Railway Agency, based in Lille/Valenciennes in France, responsible for these technical specifications. These specifications were first referred to by the Commission in 2002 and were supplemented in 2004. Consequently, for any project supported by Community funds and involving the implementation of ETCS or GSM-R, the final payment will be made subject to demonstration, by means of tests, of compliance with the specifications of interoperability.

A European coordinator

The Commission has also judged it appropriate to appoint a European coordinator, a prominent personality in the rail transport sector, to facilitate the coordinated deployment of ETRMS.

The certification of drivers

In addition, the Commission points out that the standardisation achieved through the implementation of ERTMS will permit less specific training for drivers, subject to the condition that they obtain the European Certificate. The European Railway Agency will also promote exchanges of drivers and trainers between railway companies in different Member States.

An innovation-friendly, modern Europe

An innovation-friendly, modern Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about An innovation-friendly, modern Europe

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Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

An innovation-friendly, modern Europe

The Commission is committed to promoting innovation and research in Europe based on future strategic technologies, closer collaboration between universities, researchers and business, and the creation of European Technology Platforms and a European Institute for Technology. The European Union (EU) also intends to take steps to encourage private investment and ensure better protection of intellectual property.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Council of 12 October 2006 – An innovation-friendly, modern Europe [COM(2006) 589 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

As the Indian and Chinese economies move into high-added-value technologies, the European Union (EU) will need to increase its potential for innovation *, research and technology. Innovation is the key to the success of the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs.

Where does Europe stand?

The EU seems to be confronted with a number of paradoxes which prevent it from realising its full potential, namely an inability to convert inventions into new products, patents and jobs, and a large number of innovative small businesses which find it difficult to grow into globally successful companies.

In order to come to terms with these paradoxes, the Commission has arrived at the following conclusions:

  • The EU must provide high-quality education in the form of initial and continuing training. The problem is that the average European adult is less well educated than adults in other industrialised countries. Consequently, a considerable investment is needed in higher education and lifelong learning to enable people to update their qualifications frequently. This investment will be all the more useful because the working-age population will fall by 6.8% between now and 2030 as a result of demographic change, leading to a shortage of skilled staff in engineering.
  • Europe must review and reorganise its education system in order to improve synergies between its universities.
  • To increase economic dynamism, obstacles such as “red tape” and the scarcity of venture capital must be eliminated.

The Commission stresses the importance for research and development (R&D) of radically reorganising the education system. The EU would like to see closer collaboration between the universities and the business world. The investment target for research is 2.6% of GDP by 2010 for Europe as a whole, which would put Europe on a par with its Asian and American competitors.

Unlocking Europe’s innovation potential

The keys to unlocking Europe’s innovation potential are:

  • The establishment of European leadership in future strategic technologies by creating networks of excellence, such as the European Technology Platforms * (ETPs). The success of these platforms will also lead to better public-private partnerships through Joint Technology Initiatives * (JTIs), which will make it possible to invest in promising areas, such as nanoelectronics, fuel cells, innovative medicines, aeronautics, embedded computing systems and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES). European industry is ready to invest in these projects provided that their investments are complemented by EU funding through the 7th Framework Programme and individual Member States’ contributions.
  • The forging of stronger links between universities, research and business. For far too long, universities have been too remote from the business world. The development of regional clusters fostering cooperation between universities, large and small companies, research institutes, investors and associations would make a major contribution to innovation policy. Furthermore, making better use of knowledge by setting up a European Institute of Technology (EIT) to create synergies between innovators would optimise Member States’ competitiveness.

The Commission would also like to improve the framework conditions for investment in R&D and reap commercial benefits from innovation by:

  • Creating a genuinely integrated single market. Real competition and a fully functioning internal market (with free movement of researchers, technologies and knowledge) are prerequisites for developing innovation and enabling SMEs to compete.
  • Encouraging innovation funding. Innovative SMEs are sometimes unable to find the necessary financial impetus to fund their projects, and there is a risk that they will go elsewhere (to America). Tax incentives offered by Member States may provide a solution.
  • Drawing up an intellectual property policy for the 21st century. Intellectual property rights (IPRs) must provide legal protection of user rights. They must also guarantee high-quality assessment of novelty, affordable patent procedures for SMEs, convergence and unification of laws and proceedings, and a balance between allowing new ideas to circulate within the EU and rewarding creativity. The Commission is keen to adopt a cost-effective Community patent to make the patent system more efficient, and will propose concrete steps towards a modern and affordable framework before the 2007 Spring European Council.
  • Setting open and interoperable standards more quickly to enable new products to be put onto the market immediately within a single framework, as was the case with the GSM standard.

Creating sector-specific conditions to help companies to innovate is also a priority. With this in mind, the EU is calling on Member States to encourage innovative solutions when awarding public service contracts and to modernise their public administrations (e-government).

Background

Since 1984, the EU’s research and technological development policy has been based on multiannual framework programmes. Research, innovation and education policies remain at the heart of the knowledge triangle promoted by the renewed Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs. The communication is therefore part of the Lisbon Strategy. The Spring European Council will undertake regular monitoring of progress made in implementing these measures.

Key terms used in the act
  • Innovation: renewing and extending the range of products and services; establishing new methods of design, production, supply and distribution; and changing management and work organisation, as well as the working conditions and skills of the workforce.
  • European Technology Platforms (ETPs): the European Technology Platforms are designed to develop strategies where Europe’s growth, competitiveness and sustainable development depends on major technological advances. They bring stakeholders together to define medium-term and long-term objectives and the stages of scientific and technological development, with the aim of significantly improving the daily lives of Europeans in many different fields. The Technology Platforms will also endeavour to bring European research priorities into line with the needs of industry. They cover the entire economic chain, ensuring that the knowledge generated by research is converted into technologies and processes and then into saleable products and services.
  • Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs): the creation, in some key economic sectors, of large-scale European research programmes lasting between 5 and 10 years and focusing the resources of industry, national governments and the EU on those aspects of a particular field of research that can generate economic growth and improve coherence across Europe. JTIs will be run by industry and will develop new forms of public-private partnerships. They will be set up on the basis of the research agendas prepared by the Technology Platforms.

Related Acts

Report from the Commission of 15 November 2006 – Annual Report on research and technological development activities of the European Union in 2005 [COM(2006) 685 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 16 October 2002 – The European Research Area: Providing new momentum – Strengthening – Reorienting – Opening up new perspectives [COM(2002) 565 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 11 September 2002 – More research for Europe – Towards 3% of GDP [COM(2002) 499 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 25 June 2001 – The international dimension of the European Research Area [COM(2001) 346 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 20 April 2001 – Fulfilling the JRC’s mission in the European Research Area [COM(2001) 215 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

 

European Institute of Innovation and Technology

European Institute of Innovation and Technology

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Institute of Innovation and Technology

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Research and innovation > Research in support of other policies

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 294/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 establishing the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.

Summary

With the creation of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the European Union is a step closer to creating a knowledge economy.

More specifically, setting up the EIT must:

  • buffer the effects of fragmentation of the European knowledge sector;
  • create new reference models based on excellence;
  • integrate the economic and innovative dimension into research and education;
  • address the innovation gap *.

In other words, the EIT must make it possible to unite the three sides of the knowledge triangle (education, research and innovation) by attracting the best and most talented players in these fields and developing its many networks.

Objectives and missions

The EIT is a body dedicated to (higher) education, research and innovation. It will be primarily engaged in focusing the three sides of the knowledge triangle on a single, common goal: enhance European economic growth and competitiveness by reinforcing the innovation capacity of the EU and its Member States.

It will serve as a flagship of excellence as it will be structured in such a way as to bring together these three different sectors. Its principal task will be to:

  • identify its priority fields;
  • promote the dissemination of good practices for the integration of the knowledge triangle;
  • become a world class body for excellence;
  • inform potential partner organisations*;
  • ensure complementarity and synergy between its activities and other Community programmes;
  • select, designate and coordinate Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs – see below) in the priority areas;
  • mobilise the necessary funds from public and private sources and manage those funds;
  • promote the recognition of EIT degrees and diplomas in the Member States.

The EIT will also be able to initiate the creation of a foundation (the ‘EIT Foundation’) to promote and support its activities.

Functioning

The EIT is intended to be autonomous. This will be reflected in its management, in its selection, monitoring and evaluation processes, as well as in its funding.

The EIT must be coherent in its actions, policies and initiatives, which will be carried out on a Community, national and intergovernmental level in its different areas of activity.

Structure and governance

In terms of structure and governance, the EIT has the following features:

  • a Governing Board;
  • an Executive Committee;
  • a Director;
  • an Internal Auditing Function;
  • KICs – integrated partnerships (can include third countries) made up of teams comprising universities, research bodies and industry.

The Governing Board will be composed of high-level members from the worlds of higher education, science and business. Its main tasks will entail:

  • managing EIT activities;
  • selecting, designating and evaluating KICs;
  • setting strategic EIT priorities in addition to the main thematic areas with which it will be involved.

The Executive Committee will oversee the running of the EIT and take decisions in the periods between meetings of the Governing Board.

The Director will be the legal representative of the Institute, responsible to the Governing Board for its administrative and financial management.

The Internal Audit advises the Governing Board and the Director on the financial and administrative management of the EIT, on the organisation of financial links with KICs and on any other subject requested by the Governing Board.

The role of the KICs will consist mainly of:

  • implementing innovation and investment activities focusing on research and education in interdisciplinary areas, stimulating the dissemination and utilisation of the results;
  • conducting cutting-edge research in the areas which are of greatest socioeconomic interest to the Community and show real potential for innovation;
  • organising education and training activities;
  • spreading best practice as regards governance and cooperation.

These communities will be composed of departments and partnership teams from universities, research centres and businesses. They will bring together different types of resources such as infrastructure, staff and public as well as private finance. They will use these resources to create high-level critical mass and to pool education, research and innovation excellence in their own field. While the physical resources will be geographically dispersed, each community will operate as an integrated whole. They should also benefit from complete autonomy and flexibility at the level of their internal organisation as well as for their resource management. These communities will be selected through a competitive process by the EIT and will be accountable to it. Going beyond mere cooperation, they will provide resources (infrastructure, staff, equipment) to the EIT.

Whether a particular KIC is selected or not depends on several criteria relating to its technological and innovation potential, its funding and its management and operational capabilities.

The Regulation also provides for the Commission to appoint observers. They may participate in meetings of the three EIT committees.

More information on EIT bodies can be found in the Annex to the Regulation.

Degrees and diplomas

To strengthen the EIT ‘brand’, as well as its identity, reputation and visibility, participating higher education institutes are especially encouraged to award joint or multiple degrees and diplomas, reflecting the integrated nature of the KICs.

In accordance with Articles 149 and 150 of the EC Treaty, the Member States will in particular facilitate recognition of EIT degrees and diplomas.

Status

Being a Community agency, the EIT has legal personality and enjoys the privileges and immunities which apply to the European Communities.

The EIT is solely responsible for meeting its obligations. The Court of Justice of the European Communities has jurisdiction in any dispute.

Seat

In accordance with Decision 2008/634/EC, the seat of the EIT is located in Budapest.

Financial aspects

The EIT’s resources comprise:

  • contributions from the EU budget;
  • statutory or voluntary contributions from participating States, third countries or public authorities within them;
  • contributions from businesses or private organisations;
  • bequests, donations and contributions from individuals, institutions, foundations or any other national body;
  • the EIT’s income;
  • revenue generated by the KICs’ own activities and royalties from intellectual property rights;
  • contributions from international bodies or institutions;
  • revenue generated by the EIT’s activities, results or capital endowments;
  • loans and contributions from the European Investment Bank.

The Institute’s initial budget for the period from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2013 is set at EUR 308.7 million.

The Institute’s expenditure includes staff, administrative, infrastructure and operational expenses.

General aspects

The EIT is to carry out its activities independently and in a manner consistent with other actions, policies, initiatives and instruments implemented at different levels of governance.

The EIT will act in accordance with the principles of intellectual property and transparency.

The EIT will adopt a three-year work programme, based on a Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA)*, incorporating its main initiatives and priorities, as well as an estimate of its financial requirements and sources of funding. It will also adopt an evaluation report every year. Both documents will be published.

The EIT will be subject to continuous monitoring, as well as periodic independent evaluations.

Finally, from now until June 2011 and every five years after the entry into force of a new financial framework, the Commission will publish an evaluation of the EIT.

Background

In recent years, various initiatives have been taken, both by the European Union (EU) and by the Member States, in the areas of education, research and innovation, in order to link them more effectively and to make a stronger contribution to economic growth, employment and social cohesion, but no real success has been achieved.

The Commission therefore proposed, in its spring 2005 report, the creation of a ‘European Institute of Technology’ (EIT), as a major contribution to Europe’s growth and competitiveness.

Key terms used in the act
  • Innovation: the process – and the results – by which new ideas respond to the demands of society or the economy and new products, services or business models are produced which are successfully introduced to an existing market or which have the potential to create new markets.
  • Partner organisation: any organisation which is a member of a KIC; in particular this can apply to universities, research institutes, public or private businesses, financial institutions, regional and local authorities or foundations.
  • Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA): policy document outlining the priority fields of the EIT for future initiatives, including an overview of the planned higher education, research and innovation activities, for a period of seven years.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 294/2008

29.4.2008

OJ L 97 of 9.4.2008

Related Acts

Decision 2008/634/EC taken by common agreement between the Representatives of the Governments of Member States of 18 June 2008 on the location of the seat of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) [Journal Official L 206 of 2.8.2008].

Communication from the Commission to the European Council of 8 June 2006, ‘European Institute of Technology: further steps towards its creation’ [COM(2006) 276 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission communication of 22 February 2006, ‘Implementing the renewed partnership for growth and jobs – Developing a knowledge flagship: the European Institute of Technology’ [COM(2006) 77 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Both communications seek mainly to bring into being a European Institute of Technology (EIT), which was first proposed in 2005 by the European Commission. They describe the approach to be followed for setting up the Institute and the way in which it might operate as regards its structure and financing. Emphasis is also placed on the various benefits which such an initiative could bring, both for the individual participants and for the ‘Europe of Knowledge’ as a whole.

Dual-use items

Dual-use items

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Dual-use items

Topics

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

External trade

Dual-use items

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 of 5 May 2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items [See amending act(s)].

Summary

Dual-use items are items, including software and technology, which can be used for both civil and military purposes. It includes all goods that can be used for both non-explosive uses and assisting in any way in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

In order to export a dual-use item from the European Union (EU) to any non-EU country, an export authorisation is required. Annex I of this regulation provides a list of dual-use items which require such an authorisation. An authorisation is also necessary for the export of dual-use items not listed in Annex I if the exporter has been informed by the competent authorities of the EU country in which he is established that the items in question are or may be intended, in their entirety or in part, for use in connection with:

  • the development, production, handling, operation, maintenance, storage, detection, identification or dissemination of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; or
  • the development, production, maintenance or storage of missiles capable of delivering such weapons.

Authorisation is also necessary for the export of dual-use items not listed in Annex I of this regulation if the exporter has been informed by the competent EU countries’ national authorities that the items in question are or may be intended for:

  • a military end-use
    * and the purchasing country or country of destination is subject to an arms embargo; or
  • use as parts or components of military items that have been exported from the EU without authorisation or in violation of an authorisation.

If an exporter knows that the items in question, not listed in Annex I, are intended for any of the above listed uses, he must inform the relevant competent national authorities which will then decide whether an authorisation is necessary for the export concerned.

Authorisations are also required for brokering services concerning items listed in Annex I if the broker has been informed by the competent EU countries’ national authorities that the items in question are or may be intended for the development of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery. If the broker is aware that the items are or may be intended for these uses, he must inform the national authorities. These brokering controls can be extended under national legislation to also cover other situations.

Competent authorities of EU countries may prohibit the transit of non-EU dual-use items listed in Annex I if the items are or may be intended, in their entirety or in part, for the development of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery. These transit controls can be extended under national legislation to also cover other situations.

An EU country may introduce additional national legislation to prohibit or impose an authorisation requirement for dual-use items not listed in Annex I for reasons of public security or human rights considerations.

Export authorisation and authorisation for brokering services

Annex II of this regulation establishes an EU general export authorisation for certain exports. For all other exports which require an authorisation under this regulation, this authorisation will be granted by the competent authorities of the EU country in which the exporter is established.

Under this regulation, authorisations for brokering services are granted by the competent national authorities of the EU country in which the broker is resident or established. Such authorisations are granted for a set quantity of specific items moving between two or more non-EU countries. All authorisations, both for export and for brokering services, are valid throughout the EU.

To protect essential security interests, an EU country can request another EU country not to grant an export authorisation or, if the authorisation has already been granted, request its annulment, suspension, modification or revocation.

In accordance with this regulation, the competent authorities of an EU country can refuse to grant an export authorisation and can annul, suspend, modify or revoke an export authorisation already granted. In this case, or where they decide to prohibit a transit of dual-use items listed in Annex I, they must inform the Commission and the competent authorities of the other EU countries. Before granting an export or brokering authorisation, or deciding on a transit, an EU country must check whether similar transactions have been denied by other EU countries. If such transactions exist, then the EU countries involved must consult each other. Exporters and brokers of dual-use items must keep detailed registers or records of their exports and brokering services.

An authorisation is also required for the transfer between EU countries of dual-use items listed in Annex IV of this regulation. EU countries may implement additional national legislation extending controls on the transfer of certain items inside the EU.

Dual-Use Coordination Group

This Regulation establishes a Dual-Use Coordination Group, chaired by a representative of the Commission. Each Member State appoints a representative to this group.

The coordination group examines any question concerning the application of this Regulation which may be raised either by the chair or by a representative of a Member State.

The Commission presents an annual report to the European Parliament on the activities, analyses and consultations conducted by the Dual-Use Coordination Group.

Key terms used in the act
  • military end-use:
    1. incorporation into military items listed in the military list of EU countries;
    2. use of production, test or analytical equipment and components for the development, production or maintenance of military items listed in the military list of EU countries;
    3. use of any unfinished products in a plant for the production of military items listed in the military list of EU countries.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation No 428/2009

27.8.2009

OJ L 134, 29.5.2009

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 1232/2011

7.1.2012

OJ L 326, 8.12.2011

Iceland – Research and new technologies

Iceland – Research and new technologies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Iceland – Research and new technologies

Topics

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

Research and innovation > Research and innovation: international dimension and enlargement

Iceland – Research and new technologies

acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1202 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Overall the situation presented by the 2011 Report is positive given that Iceland participates in the European Economic Area (EEA), the European Research Area and the 7th European Framework Research and Development Programme.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

Due to its specificity, the acquis in the field of science and research does not require any transposition in the national legal order. Implementation capacity does not relate to the application and enforcement of legal provisions but rather to the existence of the necessary conditions for effective participation in the framework programmes. In order to ensure the successful implementation of the acquis in this domain, notably successful association to the framework programmes, Turkey will need to create the necessary implementing capacities in the field of research and technological development including an increase of the personnel assigned to framework programme activities.

The acquis in the field of telecommunications is aimed at the elimination of obstacles to the effective operation of the single market in telecommunications services and networks, and the deployment of universally available modern services. A new regulatory framework on electronic communications was adopted by the European Union (EU) in 2002. As regards postal services, the objective is to implement the single market by opening up the sector to competition in a gradual and controlled way, within a regulatory framework which assures a universal service.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

In general, the country has achieved significant political and legislative alignment in the fields of science and research. It participates actively in the 7th European Research and Development Framework Programme. In addition, due to its involvement in the activities of the European Research Area (ERA), Iceland is close to achieving the objectives of the ERA and the Innovation Union.