EU earmarks €55m to tackle illegal web content

The European Parliament has voted in favour of a proposal backing the next phase of the 'Safer Internet' programme, due to run from 2009 to 2013

The fight against illegal online content is set to get a substantial cash injection, following a vote on Wednesday in the European Parliament.

The vote mandated MEPs to adopt a proposal backing the next phase of the EU's 'Safer Internet' plan, set to cost €55m (£35m).

The scheme, which will run from 2009 to 2013, aims to tackle "illegal content, promote a safer online environment, raise public awareness and establish a knowledge base for research purposes", according to the European Parliament.

Forty-eight percent of the scheme's €55m budget is scheduled to go to public awareness; 34 percent to fighting illegal content and tackling harmful conduct online; 10 percent to "promoting a safer online environment" and eight percent to setting up the European knowledge base.

The scheme will oversee national contact points for reporting illegal content and involving children in online-safety initiatives.

MEPs also supported proposals that could create a 'child safe' label for web pages, as well as other software-based content filters.

The Safer Internet programme is expected to be formally approved by the end of this year.