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12 October 2010 / EN

PIONEERING SOCIETAL INNOVATION Cities and Regions implementing the Digital Agenda for Europe 2020

Contribution of the European People's Party Group in the Committee of the Regions to implementing the Digital Agenda

The European People’s Party Group in the Committee of the Regions

  1. stresses that local and regional authorities have an urgent role to play in ensuring equal and affordable broadband access in areas where the market fails and draws attention to the particular difficulties for remote and low population regions and communities;
  2. believes that access to high-quality broadband at affordable prices can increase the quality of services provided by local and regional authorities and play a key role in promoting regional competitiveness, accessibility and equality between people;

    With regard to broadband take-up 
  3. calls for greater investment and coordination for world class research in responding to the challenges of globalisation through development and promotion of local and regional centres of excellence;
  4. affirms that a more digitalised Europe will enhance grassroots e-literacy and supports the European Commission’s proposal to consider it as an objective under the future regulation on the European Social Fund;

    With regard to digital inclusion
  5. calls for innovation in urban planning and management of the environment as they are sectors which have a high impact on the local economy as well as contributing to the fight against climate change;
  6. commits to investing in more efficient lighting as a contribution to reaching the EU target of reducing the energy use on lighting by 20% by 2020 and is confident on the impact of this commitment given that 60% of the global total of electricity is used for lighting public and commercial buildings;
  7. aims to increase the use of public-private partnerships and innovative excellence models, which involve local and regional authorities and ICT development companies, and to pay particular attention to entrepreneurs and SMEs as they are drivers for research and growth;
  8. emphasises support for a low-carbon economy and will take this into account in partnership with regional development agencies, sector skills providers, business support agencies and the utilities sector;

    With regard to a low-carbon economy
  9. encourages local and regional authorities to participate in programmes to improve the interoperability of public administration and the effectiveness of electronic public service delivery through efficient online exchanges, across borders and sectors, thus contributing to the territorial development;
  10. stresses the potential of the Digital Agenda for better public procurement, which can fundamentally transform the delivery and performance of regional and local administrations;
  11. commits to boosting innovation and improving the efficiency, speed and effectiveness of services delivered by local and regional authorities to the citizens of the European Union;
  12. recalls the aim of the Europe 2020 strategy – and its seven flagship initiatives – to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth geared towards economic recovery and consolidation in Europe;
  13. applauds the feedback on the EPP initiative to establish Territorial Pacts of Regional and Local Authorities on the Europe 2020 Strategy with the objective of ensuring multi-level ownership through an effective partnership between the European, national, regional and local public authorities, especially when it comes to the design and implementation of the Europe 2020 headline targets and flagship initiatives[1];
  14. draws attention to the Committee of the Regions opinion on the Digital Agenda[2] and highlights that local and regional authorities are natural front-line players in its implementation;
  15. stands ready to play an active role in achieving the key performance targets drawn from the Benchmarking framework 2011-2015[3] as presented below;

    With regard to public services
  16. wishes to work towards more and better e-Government and e-governance in order to improve services in education, health, social inclusion and territorial planning at the local and regional level;
  17. pledges to support further developments in the education system which move from transmitting information towards teaching how to find information through a more dynamic approach which consolidates knowledge through new stimuli and taps into younger and more forward-looking social approaches;
  18.  highlights the role of public authorities in ensuring that all generations can benefit from online advantages and will invest in cultivating trust between the public as users and consumers;
  19. emphasises the need for European local and regional pioneers for tackling demographic change by applying innovative and ambitious ICT-assisted systemic solutions;
  20. notes its responsibility for enhanced privacy safeguards and protection from content which may be harmful, especially with regards to the most vulnerable groups such as children;

    W
    ith regard to research and innovation
  21. encourages local and regional authorities to support university-industry cooperation, and through this provide better employment opportunities for young people;
  22. calls for greater Europe-wide benchmarking and cooperation amongst local and regional authorities in order to benefit from research and development and thus provide citizens with practical solutions and initiatives;
  23. strongly emphasises that high-quality interdisciplinary research by universities and research centres in the digital field is of crucial importance to regional and local authorities and insists on new ways to forge links between public institutions and the public;
  24. underlines that European funds for creating broadband infrastructure and ICT networks should be used where possible, especially in regions and countries that are at a geographical or natural disadvantage;

    With regard to creating a digital single market
  25. highlights the urgent need to promote the introduction of a single digital market and the positive repercussions that will be felt at local and regional levels;
  26. agrees to engage in the democratic and widespread use of e-commerce at fair and sustainable prices through a dynamic market environment;
  27. will foster an economic climate conducive to on-line investment by progressively removing obstacles and unnecessary regulatory obligations that fail to reflect market development;
  28. intends to make every effort to ensure greater efficiency in the public sector, open access to information on public services and an awareness of uniform transparency in the rules governing on-line economic and commercial transactions;

    With regards to implementation on the ground 
  29. stands ready to welcome and support ambitious, grassroots projects in line with this formal contribution;
  30. encourages local and regional authorities to become pioneers of societal innovation and to invest in its further development;
  31. is committed to actively promoting the Digital Agenda as an essential tool for both reaching ambitious local and regional development and reaching the core objectives the Europe 2020 Strategy;

 

[1]           Resolution of the committee of the regions on the Stronger involvement of Local and Regional Authorities in the Europe 2020 strategy, CdR199-2010, adopted 10/06/2010.

[2]           A Digital Agenda for Europe, CdR 104/2010, rapporteur Markku Markkula (Member of the Espoo City Council, FI/EPP), adopted 06/10/2010.

[3]           Benchmarking Digital Europe 2011-2015: a conceptual framework, endorsed by the EU Member States in November 2009.