EC launches IT taskforce

Commissioner Viviane Reding wants to crush the barriers that are preventing Europe becoming a technology powerhouse
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

The European Commission has set up a taskforce designed to make Europe's IT industry more competitive.

The taskforce will organise a five-month long debate on the barriers holding European tech companies back from world domination and then come up with some policy ideas on how to overcome them before the end of the year.

The board will be made up of executives from European tech's largest companies, including Nokia, Philips and SAP, as well as venture capitalists and academics.

Convergence in particular will come under the EC's microscope as Brussels tries to assess how to squeeze opportunities from the coming together of digital networks, devices and content.

The EU will study several areas in its attempt to give European IT a jump-start. Education will be looked at in an effort to interest young people in technology, and to make sure businesses have the skills to cope with changes in technology.

Small businesses will also be examined to see if they can contribute to improved tech competitiveness, and to look at how patents and financing affects them.

The taskforce will also consider research and development and intellectual property issues.

Information society commissioner Viviane Reding said in a statement: "With the ICT Task Force, we want to ensure that Europe's ICT industry keeps its leading role in the world. Jointly, we will focus our work on facilitating cross-border competition in Europe, on removing barriers for a true internal market for online content services, and on combining more effectively public and private research efforts to spur ICT investment."

Around five per cent of GDP across the 25 EU nation states comes from the tech industry.

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