(11 July 2012) The European Commission has proposed measures to modernise collecting societies and put in place incentives to promote their transparency and efficiency. New digital technologies are opening up great opportunities for creators, consumers and businesses alike. Increased demand for online access to cultural content (e.g. music, films, books) does not recognise borders or national restrictions. Neither do the online services used to access them. This is where collecting societies come into play, in particular in the music sector, where they collectively manage the licensing of copyright-protected music tracks for online use on behalf of composers and lyricists and collect and redistribute to them corresponding royalties.
(11 July 2012) More new businesses mean more jobs and more growth. More new businesses also mean a more competitive economy which will better enable European companies to compete internationally and reap the opportunities offered both inside and outside the single market. The lack of entrepreneurial drive in Europe is not due to an overall dislike of European population towards entrepreneurship but to concrete structural, administrative and cultural reasons that put a brake on enterprise creation and that can be tackled. Fostering and promoting entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial culture are thus a must for European, national, and regional policy-makers to increase our ability to create jobs and prosperity. A European Entrepreneurship Action Plan is therefore needed to address areas where entrepreneurial potential can be unleashed and where key bottlenecks can be overcome and obstacles to entrepreneurial activities removed. This consultation seeks to identify possible measures which could usefully contribute to the goals of such an Action Plan. Progress in attaining the goals of this Action Plan will be measured through the recommendation and monitoring processes of the Annual Growth Survey and the Small Business Act and its Review. The Entrepreneurship 2020 Consultation is open until 1 October.
The OPEN DAYS - European Week of Regions and Cities is an annual four-day event during which cities and regions showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance.
(10 July 2012) By launching a Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (SCC) the European Commission aims to boost the development of smart technologies in cities - by pooling research resources from energy, transport and ICT and concentrating them on a small number of demonstration projects which will be implemented in partnership with cities. For 2013 alone, EUR 365 million in EU funds have been earmarked for the demonstration of these types of urban technology solutions.
(9 July 2012) The European Commission has today announced the final and biggest ever set of calls for proposals for research under its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The calls support the Digital Agenda's ICT research funding targets, with almost EUR 1.5 billion going to the thematic area of information and communication technologies. Around EUR 365 million will be decicated to research on technologies that will transform urban areas into sustainable "Smart Cities and Communities". In total, EUR 8.1 billion will support projects and ideas that will boost Europe's competitiveness. The funding - which is open to organisations and businesses in all EU Member States and partner countries - makes up the lion's share of the EU's proposed EUR 10.8 billion research budget for 2013. This announcement comes just days after EU leaders emphasised the importance of research and innovation in the Compact for Growth and Jobs.
(Deadline: 10/08/2012) A call for tender for a large study on "Social Innovation in Digital Agenda" has been published. It focuses on the social innovation enabled by the "network effect" and by new models for co-production and sharing of content. By involving entrepreneurs, academics, students, geeks, NGOs and volunteers, it aims at identifying actors and initiatives in the different fields (such as energy or democracy), analyzing and comparing their approaches and mobilizing them through public activities. It also aims at comparing strategies for innovation in EU research programmes and at providing the Commission with recommendations on research, strategy and policy aspects for Social Innovation in relation to the DAE and to Horizon 2020.
26 September 2012 - 28 September 2012 Paris, France
The European Technology Platform on Smart Systems Integration (EPoSS) is organising a three-day event in September. After the general assembly the annual forum will contain speeches and presentations on topics such as a) smart systems integrating multiple technologies, multiple functionalities, and new or hybrid materials, b) smart systems interfacing with the human body, the environment or with one another, c) aspects of the smart systems life cycle, such as design, prototyping, manufacturing, test, reliability and recyclability. Finally, the engagement day will focus upon how Smart Systems providers can better connect with user communities.
26 September 2012 - 27 September 2012 Warsaw, Poland
It is now possible to register to this two days event which will offer a networking platform to build quality partnerships for participating in the new ICT Work Programme for 2013. Presentation of project ideas, first-hand information from European Commission officials, guidance on how to submit a successful proposal and much more will be provided during the event. The on-line networking features, now available on the event's website, allow participants to log on to the website, create their profiles, find out about WP objectives with the possibility to leave comments, submit or browse presentations, find out about project ideas and start networking with other proposers.
(10 July 2012) With the holiday season already starting and millions of Europeans intending on travelling within and outside the European Union, there are certain travel considerations that every European should be aware of. Whether these concern having a health insurance, resolving travel disputes with an operator, using a mobile phone abroad or even missing a child, these tips provide a useful insight into the ways in which the EU is working to help and assist EU travellers.
(9 July 2012) A new Eurobarometer survey shows that Internet users are very concerned about cyber security: 89% avoid disclosing personal information online, and 74% agree that the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime has increased in the past year. 12% of internet users across the EU have already experienced online fraud, and 8% have fallen victim to identity theft. Nonetheless, 53% have not changed any of their online passwords during the past year.
(9 July 2012) The European Commission published today the results of the public consultation on the future of LED-based lighting in Europe, which was held from 15 December 2011 to 29 February 2012. The three main concerns raised by respondents include the risk of buying products of unproven or insufficient quality, the lack of information for consumers and professional end users, and high initial purchase costs.
(5 July 2012) Many online banking systems dangerously rely on PCs being secure, but banks should instead presume customer PCs are infected, says the EU's cyber security agency ENISA in response to the reports about the "High Roller" cyber-attack. The attacks drew much attention because they were highly automated, sophisticated and targeted.
(4 July 2012) Passengers stranded at airports or awaiting missing luggage may now use a smartphone application to check their rights immediately and on the spot. Just in time for the summer holidays, the European Commission has launched an application for smartphones which covers air and rail transport and works on four mobile platforms: Apple iPhone and iPad, Google Android, RIM Blackberry and Microsoft Windows Phone 7. The app is available in 22 EU languages. It currently covers air and rail transport and will be extended to bus / coach and marine travel in 2013 when these rights come into force.
(4 July 2012) From 27 - 28 November the EC-funded PRESCIENT project is hosting an international conference in Berlin to provide a forum for the discussion of new approaches to assess the ethical and privacy impacts of emerging technologies. The consortium behind the project is inviting proposals (abstracts) for presentations at the conference. Topics of interest include the following: Privacy, ethical and surveillance impact assessments; Innovation (in the context of emerging technologies) and trade-offs against social equity; Ethical issues raised by emerging technologies; Privacy by design; Foresight re emerging technologies and how foresight can help reduce unintended consequences; etc. Abstracts must be submitted online. Deadline is 10 October 2012.
(3 July 2012) The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against France and Luxembourg because the VAT rates they are applying to digital books are potentially incompatible with EU law. EU legislation allows Member States to apply reduced VAT rates to a limited list of goods and services set out in Annex III to the VAT Directive. Downloading of digital books is regarded as a service supplied electronically, which is not included in this list and cannot therefore be taxed at the reduced rate.
(3 July 2012) Citizens are increasingly relying on the internet in their everyday lives for banking, shopping, education and communication. It is therefore important that they are able to use the internet in a secure and confident manner. The European Cyber Security Month (ECSM) is a European project which engages the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), the European Commission and EU Member States to raise awareness about possible risks associated with the improper use of networks; to disseminate recommendations for preventing these risks; and to involve representatives of the public and private sectors to facilitate such activity. The United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Norway and Slovenia will participate in pilot projects involving the organisation of specific activities to raise information security awareness (e.g. conferences, workshops and media campaigns). The initiatives will take place during the entire month of October.
The second edition of this booklet, presenting the latest developments in EU-funded ICT research and innovation, reflects the way ICT currently helps in addressing and solving societal challenges: a powerful mix of continuity and new initiatives that leads to concrete results through multidisciplinary solutions.
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