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e-Inclusion : New challenges and policy recommendations

Daniel KAPLAN

mardi 17 janvier 2006, par anass


e-Inclusion is about using Information and communication technologies (ICT) to empower all Europeans. This means more than just increasing access and making services widely available and easier to use, although these steps are important. It means also assisting people to use ICT to make their lives richer and more fun and by helping them to participate more fully in their lives as members of their families, neighbourhoods, regions, countries and as Europeans.

e-Inclusion is not something that will happen all by itself. Studies show that although ICT use is becoming more and more widespread, the gap between the information haves and have-nots in Europe is not getting narrower. This is because ICT use is a moving target. Each generation of new technology brings advances that risk leaving out those who do not have enough money, skills or motivation. These new divisions create costs in terms of social engagement and economic efficiency. For instance, ICT will lead to much better and more efficient public services, but only once nearly all citizens want them and are able to take them up.

For these reasons - participation, equality and efficiency - I have placed e-inclusion at the centre of my work as European Commissioner for Information Society and Media. It is one of three pillars of my new i2010 strategic framework for the Information Society in Europe. The Commission has already adopted a Communication on eAccessibility and it will shortly bring forward proposals on broadband access in remote and rural regions.

In June 2006, a ministerial conference on “ICT for inclusion” will debate practical measures for advancing e-inclusion, based on the results of a Member State working party that is currently being set up. In parallel, we will continue our efforts to develop egovernment, e-learning and e-health, in particular in response the ageing of European society.

All of these efforts are aimed at 2008, when I will launch a “European Initiative on e- Inclusion” to give the issue the visibility it needs and to make sure we implement practical solutions.

The current report contributes to this emerging e-inclusion agenda. It is a far ranging and provocative report from a group of independent experts. Already during its preparation, some of its ideas were taken into account in policy development. And it will undoubtedly continue to be valuable in feeding the debate that will carry us forward towards the 2008 European initiative.

That is why this report is welcome. I hope it will open new debates and help us to bring all our creative energies to bear on what could be one of the enormous advantages that we have in Europe - a commitment to a society that is efficient, fair and inclusive.

Source : eEurope Advisory Group.Juillet 2005. Auteur : Daniel KAPLAN

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