"We welcome this brochure as an illustration of how innovation in ICT is contributing to an inclusive knowledge-based economy and society. " Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media and Vladimír Spidla, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
Information and communication technologies (ICT) play a key role in all our daily lives, in our work, education, public services and in our homes. More and more new and complex services can be accessed electronically through a range of devices. Yet access, service design, personal capacity, trust, skills, willingness and awareness can be significant barriers to some of the very people who could benefit most from these services. For Europe to realise the objectives of its renewed Lisbon agenda for jobs and growth, then the benefits of ICT must be accessible to all.
Promoting an inclusive information society in Europe is one of the three key pillars of the i2010 strategy, the European Information Society for Growth and Jobs. i2010 proposes a wide range of measures for harnessing the potential of ICT to promote inclusion, deliver better public services and improve quality of life. Among many other measures, i2010 plans to launch a flagship initiative in 2007 on Independent Living for the Ageing Society, and to work towards a European eInclusion initiative for 2008.
Member States’ commitment to the eInclusion agenda was evident at a high-level meeting in Riga (Latvia) in June 2006, which brought together ministers from 34 European countries. They endorsed a pan-European drive to use ICT to help people to overcome economic, social, educational, territorial or disability-related disadvantages. eInclusion targets agreed by ministers include halving the gap in internet usage by groups at risk of exclusion, boosting broadband coverage in Europe to at least 90%, stepping up actions to reduce gaps in digital literacy and e-skills by 2008, and making all public websites accessible by 2010.