"Don't let Europe slip behind the US" - Intel

Intel chief executive Craig Barrett urged the EU Commissioner Martin Bangemann to take radical action to prevent Europe from slipping behind the US in the race to become a force in high-tech.

Barrett met the EU Commissioner for Information and Telecommunications Technologies on Monday as part of a whirl-wind European tour to address the issue of boosting competitiveness. He urged universities and businesses schools across Europe to team-up with industry in a bid to improve digital literacy and IT skills.

There are several key areas where Europe must step up its IT know-how ranging from education to reducing telecom costs, according to Barrett. Universities and business schools must improve teaching and increase IT content in course work; tax barriers that thwart employee PC purchase initiatives must be removed, the government must allow more flexible venture capital funding to support the growth of IT business and create a more flexible workforce; barriers to e-commerce must be lifted notably, by relaxing encryption technology export restrictions and improving bandwidth capability and costs; broadband technologies need to be cheaper and more readily available to drive PC industry growth. Barrett also wants to see European telecoms charges, on average, five times more expensive, fall into line with those in the US.

"The use of the Internet and development of e-commerce application require the development of digital literacy and strong IT skills. Some European academic establishments are not offering a curriculum that addresses the future," Barrett said. "More help is needed from government to encourage universities and business schools to use and teach new technologies and ways of doing business. Strong co-operation with industry is a pre-requisite in order to fully understand industry's changing needs," he added.

Barrett's European tour also included the House of Commons where the chip boss unveiled an initiative to get schools to use more multimedia software and to help ramp up teachers' IT skills.

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