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ISSUE 51 page 8

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Sites of Interest
Digital agenda plan aims to give EU internet lead
 AS PART OF THE EUROPE 2020 strategy (see page 4) seven ‘flagship’ initiatives are envisaged. First off the blocks is the plan for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to be called the ‘Digital Agenda for Europe’. It starts from the assumption that the EU is falling behind other parts of the World in both access to and quality of the Worldwide Web as well as commercial use of it and the popularity of local content. While 15% of South Koreans and 12% of people in Japan have access to the fastest, fibre-based, internet connection, only 1% of EU citizens have it. 30% of Europeans have never used the internet. Only four of the 54 most popular web sites in the EU are of European origin. The European Commission wants to remedy this by 2013, when everybody should have basic broadband, rolling out the high-speed version, above 30 Megabits per second (Mbps) to all by 2020. It will also try to double the amount spent on research and development by 2020 to increase multilingual and culturally diverse content.
When it comes to business the Commission feels that national boundaries still play a large part in inhibiting online purchases. Only 8% of online shoppers in the EU buy across borders and 60% of attempted cross-border purchases fail due to technical or legal reasons such as the refusal of credit cards based in foreign countries. This leads to a preponderance of illegal activities such as music downloads where the legal market is four times bigger in the USA. The Commission has a number of solutions to these problems. It plans to set a deadline for the creation of a single market in online payments and to propose a new directive on copyright clearance and cross-border licensing, before the end of this year. In order to increase trust among consumers of online shopping sites, it plans to implement EU-wide e-authentication, which goes beyond passwords as a safe way of establishing your identity, to initiate ‘trustmarks’ for web sites and to facilitate European online dispute resolution.

Source: Eurostat Community Survey on ICT Usage by Households and by Individuals 2009



 Web sites and reports mentioned in this issue are available at:
 Digital Agenda for Europe: key initiatives
 Trade union strategies to recruit new groups of workers
 CHEmical Safety Assessment and Reporting tool
ECHA debuts another IT helper
Following the launch of the ‘Navigator’ (see last issue), designed to find out if a substance should be submitted by a company to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the agency has now come up with CHESAR (CHEmical Safety Assessment and Reporting tool) which will help users to actually carry out a safety assessment and report, if necessary.t  

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