Who do I call if I want to call Europe?

I’m at the European Council meeting in Brussels right now, and have a draft of the presidency conclusions in front of me. Since almost all publications report on the big political issues such as Eu’s ambitious environmental goals, I thought it could be good to look at some other issues, such as my personal favorite – IT.

But before I go into those details, there is a project you should know of that is not on the agenda at this meeting. I just heard about it this week, and it is an online campaign that is called whodoicall after Henry Kissinger’s famous quote “Who do I call if I want to call Europe?”. The campaign wants one person to lead the EU – the same person as President of the Commission and the European Council. According to the group’s website , they stand for openness, accountability and democratic legitimacy. Two European political bloggers started the campaign, Jan Seifert and Jon Worth. Have a look!

Now, back to the power talks here in Brussels, by the way, Barroso just walked by with his huge crew. Here are some of the IT plans:

Investing in knowledge and innovation has become more and more important for EU, and the Lisbon Strategy is an important drive-force for that focus. Since its so hard for Europe to compete on price, the best solution is to create a “knowledge economy”, which all developed countries seem to strive for these days, for good reasons.

In order to reach the knowledge economy, EU wants to do these thing (this is not the full list):

  • Create a “fifth freedom” – free movement of knowledge over the border, in other words better mobility of researchers, students, scientist, etc.
  • Encourage open access to knowledge and open innovation (this is a quite wage phrase, like much of the text, but EU has actually said they will increase their use of open source, and the Commission will prefer Open Source for new IT projects).
  • Launching a new generation of world-class research facilities (such as EIT and the Joint Technology Initiatives).
  • Nation states should aim to make high-speed Internet available to all school by 2010 and set ambitious national targets for household access.
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5 thoughts on “Who do I call if I want to call Europe?

  1. Thanks for the link! :-)

    As for the “fifth freedom” – free movement of knowledge – what do you actually think about that? Is it really on a par with goods, services, persons and capital? Surely knowledge is some kind of combination of all of those things…?

    Maybe some meat on the bones of the Bologna process would be a better idea than a nice slogan.

  2. Thanks for the link! :-)

    As for the “fifth freedom” – free movement of knowledge – what do you actually think about that? Is it really on a par with goods, services, persons and capital? Surely knowledge is some kind of combination of all of those things…?

    Maybe some meat on the bones of the Bologna process would be a better idea than a nice slogan.

  3. So they want to make sure that any scientific or technical breakthrough or next-step development made in one nation is available for exploitation by the entire EU?

    Sounds right in line with the overall goal of turning Europe into one nation. ;) I’m sure the multi-national corporations are all in favor of it at least.

  4. Free movement of knowledge is mandatory for EU, just as the other four freedoms. I don’t know what obstacles researchers/scientists meet when they cross European “borders” today, but if EU seriously wants to create a knowledge economy, knowledge has be able to move freely. In a way, it is sad this has not been a clear goal until recent years.
    I’m very curious about the new EIT, and I hope it is not going to be an institution that only looks good on paper and in grand speeches.
    If anyone has some info on the type of obstacles scientists face when moving around Europe, please let me know.

  5. open source is the future of IT, in my thinking. companies and nations that have/will adopt and support open source will lead the knowledge economy.

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