(28 June 2012) From 1 July 2012, using mobile internet to access maps, videos, photos, social networks and email will be much cheaper while travelling in other EU member states. A new EU regulation means that, for the first time, there will be a maximum charge for "data roaming" - downloading data from the internet when using a mobile connection. The data roaming rules will mean savings of over EUR 1000 per year for a typical businessperson travelling in the EU. A family taking an annual holiday in another EU country can expect to save at least EUR 200. The new rules will also cut the maximum prices for voice calls and texts.
(27 June 2012) Efforts to increase the healthy lifespan of EU citizens by two years received a major boost today as 261 projects were submitted for inclusion in the European Innovation Partnership for active and healthy ageing. The partnership brings together more than 50 regions, technology companies and health providers to deliver solutions for: better adherence to medical treatment, prevention of falls, prevention of functional decline and frailty, integrated care models, independent living and active ageing, age-friendly buildings, cities and environments. The 261 projects were submitted by groups of stakeholders spanning the public and private sector. In addition, 54 regions and municipalities offered themselves as 'reference sites', to exchange good practice and to share knowledge and experience on past successes in this domain. The massive response from stakeholders shows a real drive in Europe to ensure better lifestyles, higher quality of care and recognition of the business potential of our ageing society.
(26 June 2012) The European Commission has today called for a European effort to boost Key Enabling Technologies (KETs). The global market in KETs, which comprises micro- and nanoelectronics, advanced materials, industrial biotechnology, photonics, nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing systems, is forecast to grow from EUR 646 Billion to over EUR 1 Trillion between 2008 and 2015; this is a jump of over 54%, or more than 8% of the EU's GDP. Rapid growth in jobs is expected, too. In nanotechnology industries alone, the number of jobs in the EU is expected to increase from 160,000 in 2008, to around 400,000 by 2015. The European Commission tabled its strategy today to boost the industrial production of KETs-based products, e.g. innovative products and applications of the future. The strategy aims to keep pace with the EU's main international competitors, restore growth in Europe and create jobs in industry, at the same time addressing today's burning societal challenges. As a matter of fact, Europe is a global leader in KETs research and development with a global share in patent applications of more than 30%. Despite this, the EU is not translating its dominant R&D base into the production of goods and services needed to stimulate growth and jobs. This is why the Commission calls for a European effort to boost KETS.
(27 June 2012) Ahead of this week's European Council summit, the EU Media Futures Forum commissioned by Neelie Kroes has delivered a wake-up call to leaders about what they and the industry need to do to transform this sector - a sector employing 10 million people and the foundation of public debate in Europe. The groups outlines 8 bottlenecks in the Digital Single Market and 8 solutions - ranging from VAT treatment to broadband to copyright and cross-border journalism - with actions needed for the media sector to contribute to Europe's growth.
(26 June 2012) Representatives of the EU's ebook value chain met in Brussels today for high-level discussions on creating a digital single market for ebooks. Participants included Vice- President Neelie Kroes, and representatives from major publishing and distribution companies and platform providers.
(25 June 2012) The European Commission just took another step towards a Cloud Active Europe with the signature of a grant agreement for Helix Nebula. The Commission is giving EUR 1.8 million in funding to this initiative which will develop cloud services in the scientific domain by partnering main research infrastructures in Europe (CERN, EMBL and ESA) with main stakeholders in the industry (e.g. Atos, T-systems, etc). The Commission's grant will support moving flagship applications (Atlas HEP, Genomic Assembly in the Cloud and Supersites Exploitation Platform) to the cloud, while identifying business opportunities for cloud services for the scientific community.
The EU-funded BRAID project (Bridging Research in Ageing and Information and Communication Technology Development) has engaged with key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive Research and Technological Development (RTD) Roadmap for Ageing. As it is reaching completion, the project has published an Executive Summary, a 32 page document that provides a summary of over two years work and more than 1500 pages produced by the BRAID project team.
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda
President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, presents the findings of the report prepared by the EU Task Force on eHealth he chaired. The report outlines the Task Force's conclusions regarding the key issues faced by a fundamental re-organisation of healthcare to make use of already existing information technologies. These solutions are often not medical at all, but rather deal with how in the future we will need to treat data, privacy, research as well as the physician/patient relationship.
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