UK drives plans for united tech Europe

UK to use EU presidency to encourage greater collaboration and interoperability...

The UK will use its forthcoming presidency of the EU to drive through stronger initiatives for interoperable and collaborative ebusiness and e-government solutions across Europe, as well as seeking to liberalise the telecoms industry.

The UK takes over the presidency on 1 July and it lasts until the end of the year. During that time the Department of Trade and Industry is adamant it will be a force for change within Europe's IT infrastructure, policy control and regulation.

While hard and fast details clearly still need fleshing out, Nigel Hickson, head of European ICT policy and regulation at the DTI, told attendees at an EEMA conference in Leuven, Belgium: "There is still some work to be done on improving the single market, liberalising telecommunications, implementing some parts of the e-Commerce Directive and ensuring the interoperability of government services."

Hickson also took the opportunity to outline a new EU initiative called i2010. He said the initiative is aimed at creating greater freedoms of service delivery as well as providing better public services. He also said there will be a doubling of funding for the initiative which was proposed by Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding.

Hickson believes telecoms infrastructure needs to be updated along collaborative lines. He said there is a great disparity across Europe in terms of connection speeds through dial-up and broadband over ADSL, cable, wireless and fibre.

The UK presidency will address full implementation of the 2003 EU Telecoms Package. This plan would consolidate regulation in communications across the EU and provide a level playing field for competition.

"We aim to improve regulation by reducing, harmonising and collaborating across all aspects," said Hickson.