After a morning focused on transport issues, the second half of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) Council that convened in Brussels, on December 20, 2012, was dedicated to issues of telecommunications and information society. EU Telecommunications Ministers noted the progress achieved on three main legislative proposals in the last six months under the Cyprus Presidency, aiming towards a more Digital Europe. Through these proposals, confidence of citizens and businesses in online transactions will be increased, steps will be taken for better exploitation of the single largest source of information in the EU (the public sector information) and the market will be encouraged towards endorsing high speed internet and digital services throughout the EU.
Well aware that the confidence of citizens and businesses in online transactions is a precondition for achieving growth in a digital economy, Ministers actively engaged in an orientation debate and noted the progress made on the proposal for a Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market. “The proposed legislation strengthens the EU Single Market by boosting trust in digital transactions and by facilitating electronic interaction between citizens, businesses and public administrations”, said the Minister of Communications and Works of Cyprus, Mr. Efthemios Flourentzou, who chaired the meeting.
High speed internet and digital services throughout the EU
Additionally, the Council noted the progress made in the examination of the proposal for a Regulation on guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) which is an item of uttermost importance for the digital infrastructure and services in the EU.
Better exploitation of the single largest source of information in the EU
Furthermore, the Ministers noted the progress made on another significant dossier, the proposal for a directive on the re-use of public sector information. The proposal aims to create a favorable environment for the re-use of public sector data and activities based on the re-use of public information resources. The Minister has also provided information on the first informal trialogue with the European Parliament that took place in December stating that “the proposal will help creating new businesses and trigger significant economic gains across the EU”.
Annual Growth Survey and Digital Agenda for Europe
The Commission’s Annual Growth Survey and the Digital Agenda for Europe contribute to the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, inclusive and sustainable growth. The Commission presented the recently adopted mid-term review of the Digital Agenda and Ministers had an opportunity to review the progress achieved on the Digital Agenda and discuss how current and upcoming ICT initiatives can best be utilised to promote growth and jobs in the EU and they contributed in this way in the annual European Semester exercise.
Network and Information Security
The Council was also briefed by the Presidency on the considerable progress that was achieved on the examination of the proposal for a Regulation concerning the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) as well as on the state of play in the negotiations with the European Parliament on this file.
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