ERCIM News No.25 - April 1996

The Information Society in the Euro-Mediterranean Context

by Jean-Michel Chasseriaux

ERCIM was asked by the European Commission to organize a workshop on "The Information Society in the Euro-Mediterranean context: Research and Information Technologies". The Workshop will be held 1-2 April in Sophia-Antipolis, France. This workshop is an important step in a process of "reflexion" and political decision which can be traced back to the European Council in Corfu in June 1994.

At this meeting, the European Union confirmed the strategic character of a harmonious transition towards the information society. The G7 summit in Brussels, February 1995, underlined the necessity for all countries, including the developing countries and economies in transition, to participate in this general movement. The first forum on this theme was held in Brussels, last June, between the European Union and the Central and Eastern European Countries. More specifically concerning the countries of the Mediterranean basin, the communication networks were a major topic at the seminar on "The Europe of Research and the Mediterranean", organized under the French Presidency in March 1995 in Sophia-Antipolis. Since then, the Euro-Mediterranean Conference which was held in Barcelona 27-28 November 1995, adopted the MEDA action programme for a total of 4.685 MECUs including Information Technologies.

The conference has been conceived as one of the follow-up actions of the Barcelona Conference which took place on 27-28 November 1995, and gathered together 27 Foreign Ministers to decide upon the creation of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. This event involved the participation of Ministers responsible for Education, Research and Telecommunications, entrepreneurs, university researchers and all operators who are somehow associated with the building up of the Information Society in the Mediterranean region.

The Barcelona Declaration and the accompanying Action Plan concentrate on the creation of more efficient information and communications infrastructures. These will facilitate and intensify euro-mediterranean exchanges and access to the newly born Information Society. With this perspective in mind, Ministers decided that a Euro-Mediterranean Conference would take place in 1996. This is to pave the way to the realisation of pilot projects which will show the Information Society's concrete advantages.

The Rome Conference will be presented by three single issue workshops:

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Please contact:
Bruno Le Dantec - ERCIM Office
Tel: +331 3963 5303

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