(13/09/2011) The Commission uses a number of groups to help drive and inform its e-Inclusion agenda.
The i2010 e-Inclusion Subgroup
Member States’ representatives sit on this subgroup. Its advice feeds into the i2010 High-Level Group and helps the Commission to implement the Riga Declaration on e-Inclusion. The subgroup has done a lot of work on preparing the 2008 European Initiative on e-Inclusion, focusing especially on policies for ICT for Ageing Well and eAccessibility.
The Subgroup held its meeting in Limassol, Cyprus, on 7 and 8 April 2009. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and form a consensus on future e-inclusion policy orientations. The ‘Limassol report’ produced as the result of the meeting will contribute to the preparations of the next European strategy on the information society, to succeed the i2010 initiative. In the conclusions of the report, the e-inclusion Subgroup recommends that the European Commission and European Member States, together with other European Institutions, continue working together and intensify efforts in e-inclusion in order to:
Provide strategic leadership by ensuring digital inclusion is a cornerstone of future European information society policy;
Review the vision and goals set out in the Riga Declaration;
Mainstream digital inclusion into key policy areas, such as education, economic recovery strategy, social cohesion, and health/social care;
Consider the proposals and suggestions made in the Limassol report when shaping future programmes and investments at European and national levels.
The meetingwas held in Malta on 28-29 January 2010. The main points discussed were:
Web accessibility: National specifications and guidelines;
Other aspects of e-accessibility: Policy context; Follow-up of Communication "towards and accessible information society" (COM (2008)
Follow up of the Limassol report
The e-Inclusion Partnership
The partnership acts as a platform for dialogue for various business and civil society organisations. It aims to deliver concrete progress in areas earmarked as Commission priorities, such as eAccessibility and ICT for Ageing Well. The partnership is a key actor in the activities to be carried out for the e-Inclusion initiatives.
Key partnership members include: DigitalEurope, which represents Europe’s digital industries; AGE, a platform for older people; and EDF, the European Disability Forum.
Technical Committees and User Groups
The Inclusive Communication (INCOM) subgroup reports to the Communications Committee (COCOM) on ICT and accessibility issues. INCOM keeps a close eye on opportunities to amend legislation which could make it easier for disabled people to access new technologies.
Its 2006 report highlighted major gaps in telecoms legislation which mean disabled users continue to be penalised on grounds of availability, choice, quality and price.