by Marie-Christine Imbert
The G7 Industry Ministers held a conference on Information Society in Brussels on February 25-26 1995. They endorsed 11 pilot projects to demonstrate the potential benefits of the Information Society and stimulate its deployment. One of those is the "Global Marketplace for SMEs". During his speech at the ERCIM meeting in Budapest, Georges Metakides invited ERCIM to participate in the EU deliberations of this Pilot Project in support of its spin-offs. ERCIM is pleased to follow up in this direction,.and to help in building or testing what is required by the G7 project.
The European Commission DGIII-F division is co-chairing this pilot project together with Japan and the US. The objectives are:
A Memorandum of Understanding is to be signed at the end of the year by the participating organisations. The principles are:
The project is in its "preparatory phase" and three themes have been identified:
The European Union has established 2 contact groups: the EU electronic commerce business contact group and the EU National Coordinators group which also involves DGIII, DGX, DGXIII, DGXV and DGXXIII.
The "implementation phase" will start by January 1996 and will span till 1998. The specific actions to be launched in the EU are awareness and promotion campaigns, best practice initiatives, stimulating the launch of pilots and testbeds, standardisation actions, recommendations for political action. There will be a first Regional Workshop in Paris (9/10 May 1996) and then in the Autumn of `96 a 1st Global Workshop to establish global issue-based workshops. On November `96 and each of the 2 following years there will be a Global SME Conference.