Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

EP 11-01-1999: Clearer rules for electronic signatures etc


Plenary Session of the European Parliament 11.01.1999

Clearer rules for electronic signatures

Clearer rules for electronic signatures Co-decision procedure - first reading. Simple majority required for amendments to be adopted. (A4-0507/98 - Ullmann)

Wolfgang Ullmann (D, Greens) will be reporting for the Legal Affairs Committee on Commission proposals which aim to create a common legal framework for electronic authentication services and the use of electronic signatures within the EU..

Mr Ullmann agrees with the general approach of the proposal, believing that it represents a step in the right direction, not least because it focuses on flexibility - a necessity in view of the kind of technological development and needs for international co-ordination in this specific field. He also agrees with the key concept of legal recognition of electronic signatures and the establishment of basic requirements and responsibilities for service providers to reach this goal. He notes that the proposed framework needs to take global developments into account to avoid conflicts between the different international initiatives. Finally he is tabling a series of amendments which seek to clarify parts of the text.

Support for an "Internet Charter"

Support for an "Internet Charter" (A4-0366/98 - Malerba)

Franco Malerba (I, EPP) for the Economics Committee will be expressed strong support for the Commission's proposals to strengthen international coordination in order to meet the challenges of globalisation and the Information Society. He approves of the idea of establishing an "Internet Charter" - a legally non-binding document setting out internationally agreed objectives and principles in areas such as taxation, liability, jurisdiction and data-protection. From the European point of view, he considers that the main purposes of this Charter should be to ensure that European companies and organisations can fully participate in the opportunities offered by Internet and electronic commerce, to avoid premature and conflicting regulation and to ensure that the interests of consumers are safeguarded. In drawing up this Charter, Mr Malerba stresses the need to closely with other countries - notably the USA - and with industry.

An EU strategy for global navigation satellite systems

An EU strategy for global navigation satellite systems (A4-00/98 - Langenhagen)

The Commission is calling on the member states to agree by early 1999 on the strategy which the EU should adopt with regard to global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). This is an expanding world market which could be worth $50 bn within 7 years, with many applications in the transport sector as well as in agriculture and oil and gas exploration. The Commission considers that in the long term the ideal would be to cooperate with all the EU's international partners. To this end it is calling on the member states to start consultations with the main international operators with a view to studying the possibility of achieving an acceptable joint system. It considers that if this is not possible, the EU should opt for the establishment of an independent European GNSS, taking into account the technological developments which might substantially reduce the cost of development of such a system. The financing of a European GNSS system (which should cost between EUR 400m and EUR 400bn, depending on quality) could be undertaken through a public/private partnership. Any delay in deciding on its strategy could impair the prospect of Europe achieving a competitive position in this market.

Brigitte Langenhagen (D, EPP) for the Transport Committee will be welcoming the Commission's proposed action plan. Amoing other requests she wants the member states to convene a European Space Council at Head of State or Government level to give clear decisions on the strategic, technical and budgetary guidelines, and considers that Council should assess the desirability of holding a World Conference on the issue. She is also calling on the Commission to take all necessary meaures to promote international cooperation in the field of GNSS.