One of the last publications from 2011, and hence one that had to wait until 2012 for me to find time to read, was the ‘Digital Agenda for Europe – Annual Progress Report 2011’ published on the 22 December 2011. There are no hidden surprises that I could find but the original report was covered in Europe Calling in May 2011.
There seems to be a big hope in the EU that citizens will buy goods online from other countries and the EU are even measuring it – 9%, which is 25% up on 2008 – but why? Isn’t it enough that citizens are buying the best goods at the best price without adding delivery miles?
The Commission is also announced as publishing a strategy on stimulating ‘cloud computing’ in 2012, although this seems to be more about innovation and the single market than ‘green’ or anything else, which since we have enough problems with introducing ‘cloud’ into English government, without considering cross-border ‘clouds’.
One good piece of news is that the Commission is reviewing the State Aid Guidelines on Broadband Deployment, which have caused some grief in England – I’m sure if these were made clearer it would help everyone! Similarly the proposal for Rural Development for 2014 – 2020 allows for access to ICT and very high-speed broadband in rural areas, which if made simpler would benefit areas like the one I work in.
Strangely there is also a demand that public sector websites are fully accessible by 2015 and that proposals around this should be released by the EU in the next six months, and that in the six months after there is planned to be a single instrument on the topics of eSignatures, eIdentity and eAuthentication, which may be amusing given the UK’s lack of anything substantial for government along with hardcore resistance to it doing anything.