Brussels, 20 May 2010 — Yesterday EU-Commissioner Neelie Kroes disclosed her long-expected Digital Agenda for Europe. The Digital Agenda spans a 10-year period of upcoming European Commission policies in the digital sphere including ambitious regulatory initiatives. The FFII points out that her strategy document falls short on good governance and open standards.
A “Digital Agenda Assembly”, an annual lobby-parliament to govern the agenda implementation, would be composed of delegates from the European Parliament and industry. The Assembly would bring them together to ‘assess progress and emerging challenges’ and receive input from a ‘High Level Group’ and ‘stakeholders’.
“Neelie Kroes feeds her ambitious Digital Agenda as raw meat to lobby groups. It is a carrot without stick”, warns René Mages from the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII). Mages continues, “The Commissioner undermines the dignity of the European elected representatives by setting them on equal footing with private interest representatives.” The FFII fears her governance principles would aggravate the trend to keep the backbone of the European ICT sector, small and medium-sized companies, from having significant influence in Brussels.
“Take open standards for example”, comments FFII president Benjamin Henrion. “Earlier drafts of the Commission’s Digital Agenda featured ‘open standards’ but interest groups managed to eliminate the phrase during inter-service consultations. I would like Kroes to name the corporations that were lobbying behind closed doors for a removal of open standards. Brussels should be transparent and be willing to reveal the elephant in the room.”
EU Commission Digital Agenda website: The Commission intends to “work closely with national governments, concerned organisations and companies.”
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The FFII is a not-for-profit association, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, and open standards. More than 1,000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights in data processing.