[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[FYI] "EU must make the most of IS potential"

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/c European Communities, 1999 

 Record Control Number : 12407 
                             Date : 1999-03-09 

Category : Miscellaneous

General Information : 

The European Union has to make the most out of the job opportunities
that the Information Society (IS) is currently creating, as failure to
do so would carry a heavy price in terms of European jobs, growth and

This is the conclusion of a European Commission report to the Council
of Ministers, entitled "Job opportunities in the Information Society",
which identifies three main action areas and gives recommendations to
Member States. 

One of the main challenges of the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) for
research, Technological Development and Demonstration (RTD) is to
tackle the unemployment rate in Europe, which is currently 11%. 

During the "Jobs Summit" in Luxembourg in November 1997, the Heads of
State and Government requested a report on the job opportunities
within the IS. The report, adopted by the Commission, concludes that
employment prospects in the IS sector are bright - but only if Europe
acts decisively to make the most of the potential of this rapidly
growing and rapidly changing industry. 

The Commission believes this will require increased efforts to promote
an enterprise culture in the European Union, the development of a
flexible but robust policy framework and increased investment in the
employability and adaptability of people to make it all happen. 

The report therefore calls for concerted action at all levels to
address this challenge and proposes a timetable for monitoring and
benchmarking the progress being made. 

The IS has rapidly become on of the biggest and fastest growing
sectors in the EU economy, already accounting for 5% of EU GDP.
Companies adopting an IS approach are creating new jobs, new
opportunities, new products and new services, as well as driving
overall economic growth and enhancing competitiveness. 

According to the report, the IS-related sector leads employment growth
in Europe with over four million people employed. Between 1995 and
1997, more than 300,000 new IS-related jobs were created. 

But in spite of these positive aspects, the report points out some
worrying evidence that the EU is not making the most of the IS's
potential. Over 500,000 information and communications technology jobs
vacancies in the EU were unfilled by late 1998 because of a skills

"This calls for urgent attention," says the Commission. 

The report suggests that action is required in the following three

- The EU must do more to develop an enterprise culture so as to create
an environment in which new ideas, new start-ups, new products and new
services can be allowed to flourish; - Organisational change and
adaptability are vital if the full potential of new technologies is to
be exploited to improve efficiency, develop new products and services,
and unleash the creativity and innovation of the workforce; - Skills
and technical literacy levels need to be boosted if the full
employment potential of the IS is to be maximized. 

The Commission's main recommendations to the EU Member States, the IS
industries and the Social Partners are: 

- Member States should submit their comprehensive national IS
strategies by June 1999; - Top priority should be given to ensuring
the swift implementation of EU initiatives directly related to IS. In
particular, in the areas of telecommunications, audio-visual,
electronic commerce, venture capital, research and development,
employment, education and training, cohesion and international
affairs; - The IS industries must show leadership; - The social
partners are invited to make their contribution by developing a
framework for modernisation designed to promote the introduction of
new technology and new work organisation in the knowledge-based

The Commission will place all of these contributions on the Europa
server for public consultation. A report on the progress made with
recommendations for future action will be prepared for the Helsinki
European Council in December 1999. 

Data Source Provider : European Commission, DG V

Document Reference : Based on European Commission report COM(98)0590

Subject Index Codes : Telecommunications; Innovation, Technology
Transfer; Information, Media