PRESS RELEASE - Athens, 25 January 2005

Subject: "EU Commissioner Viviane Reding advocate for European Union ICT & Media
visits Athens, Greece with her new vision of convergence"

H.E.M. Viviane Reding, European Union Commissioner of the Information Society and Media visited Athens on 24th January 2005 for an official luncheon. Her hosts included: Mr. Athanasios Papadropoulos, Honorary President of the Association of the European Journalists, Mr. John Taloumis, CEO of 3NET Telecommunications, The Athanasios Botis Foundation for Promotion of Journalism and INADE-Institute for the Development of Western Greece and organizers iForce Communications.

Key points of Commissioner Reding's convergence plan:

  • She emphasized key points in rolling-out her plan for ICT & Media convergence during her presentation at the official luncheon. Her advocacy for merging media, audiovisual and the information society policies offers a fruitful foundation and the prospect for future synergies that have yet to be exploited.
  • For the first time, Information Communications Technology and Media co-exist together in the same European portfolio. Commissioner Reding's portfolio which includes almost a quarter of the total EU research spending has led to huge successes such as the GSM and the Digital Video Broadcasting standards.
  • Her push for boosting free market competition is justified by wanting to increase the standard of living stimulated by productivity growth. ICTs are important economic drivers. Investments in ICT and technical progress accounted for about 40% of EU labor productivity over the second half of the 90's and 60% in the US. Recent evidence suggests that Europe's gap with the US is largely linked to the production and diffusion of the ICTs. The size of the sector has doubled since the early 90's achieving 8% of GDP in 2000. The ICT productivity sector accounts for 18% of overall European R&D spending.
  • A focus to continue to stimulate growth of the ICTs and Media will be through the EU Research Framework Program and a New Regulatory Framework. The framework program will encourage, promote, assimilate and exploit technological advances while the new regulatory infrastructure will enhance competition and development in the eCommunication areas via broad band infrastructure (an area which Greece lags greatly behind) and policies such as eEurope and Television without Frontiers Directive.
  • Her next step is the design of a global post eEurope 2005 Strategy which will take us to 2010. The initiative will be revealed in May 2005.

In concurrence with Commissioner Reding, Mr. Taloumis, CEO of 3NET Telecommunications, emphasizes the necessity to accelerate broad band infrastructure in Greece. He also advocates a "tax-free status for all broad band products and services to encourage broad band in Greece" He believes the eTrends for the next five years will include but not limited to, will be "eEducation and eHealth and eAccess to the work place for all citizens".

Coordinator and host, Mr. Athanasios Papadropoulos, and General Secretary of Research and Technology, Mr. John Tsoukalas from the Ministry of Development offered an introductory foreword at the luncheon and Mr. Spryos Avarkiotis, President of the Botsis Foundation honored Commissioner Reding for her contribution to Europe.

About Commissioner Reding
Mrs. Viviane Reding, a Luxembourg national, obtained a Doctorate of Human Sciences from Sorbonne, Paris. A Journalist by profession, she served as President of Luxembourg Union of Journalists from 1986-1998. In 1979, she became a Member of the European Parliament. In 1999, she was appointed as EU Commissioner responsible for Education, Youth, Culture, Sport and Media. As of 2004, she maintains her appointment as European Commissioner responsible for Information Society and Media. Awards include but not limited to are the 2001 Golden Medal of European Merit, 2004 Robert Schuman Medal and Prince of Asturias International Cooperation Prize.


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