| SEE Countries to Better Tap Potential of Information Society|
(Published on: 07.06.2002)
|With the signing of a Statement of Intent in Ljubljana on the 4th of June 2002, Ministers of SEE countries (Albania, BiH, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, FR Yugoslavia) reaffirmed their intention to develop information societies in their respective countries by initiating regional actions, which follow the successful model of the eEurope and eEurope+ (EU plus accession countries). Bulgaria and Romania being equally members of eEurope+ and eSEE participated in meeting on the 4th of June 2002 and supported the Statement of Intent. Ministers agreed to rapidly introduce a new legislative and policy framework and to improve the capability of their countries to apply information technologies for better governance and economic development. The Statement of Intent was worked out as part of the Stability Pact's e SEE (electronic Southeast Europe) Initiative, which was launched at the Stability Pact Economics Working Table in Istanbul in October 2000. In order to facilitate implementation of the Statement of Intent, Ministers equally agreed to develop an ambitious regional action plan, called eSEE AGENDA, which shall be approved at a ministerial conference on Regulatory Frameworks in Telecommunications in Belgrade this autumn.|
The European Union launched eEurope in Lisbon in May 2000. It was extended to also include candidate countries in Goteburg in June 2001. The signing marks and important step to engage the countries of SEE in a similar process. In this respect Bulgaria and Romania, while as candidate countries already participating in eEurope+, are most welcome to share their experiences and best practices gained, with the other signatory countries. The Stability Pact's eSE Europe Initiative demonstrates regional ownership, as it is, since March 2002, chaired by FR Yugoslavia and is supported by UNDP through a regional secretariat based in Sarajevo. Yugoslavia as its chair on the 4th of june 2002 called upon the International community, especially the EU and its member states, to support the development of information society in SEE and to provide the necessary guidance.
The aim of eSEE Europe in general is to better integrate SEE countries into the global, knowledge-based economy by means of regionally supporting the development of information society, including benchmarks for best practice and the transfer of knowledge. The signing of the Statement of Intent took place on the occasion of the European Ministerial Conference on Information Society, 3 - 4 June 2002 in Ljubljana.
JOINT STATEMENT OF INTENT
At the occasion of the European Ministerial Conference on Information Society in Ljubljana on the 3rd and 4th of June 2002, we the Ministers responsible for the development of the Information Society or their authorized representatives of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, have met within the context of the Stability Pact’s eSEEurope Initiative, with the purpose of agreeing to prepare joint actions in the context of the Information Society that will enhance the cooperation on economic; social and cultural issues between the South Eastern European countries .
Recognizing the success of eEurope launched by the leaders of the European Union in Lisbon on 23/24 May 2000 and Europe+ launched by the leaders of EU Candidate Countries in Goteborg on 16 June 2001, we hereby reaffirm our intention to develop the Information Society by taking regional actions which aim to improve the future prosperity and stability of the region and contribute to improved democratic structures, economy progress, social cohesion, and regional security.
Recognizing the indispensable requirement for a transparent, effective, and pro-competitive regulatory and institutional environment, the specific role of the government in establishing such an environment, and the positive experiences of the eEurope and eEurope+ processes, we declare our commitment to:
- introduce rapidly a new legislative and policy framework for the Information Society, in particular in the area of telecommunications;
- improve the capability of the region to apply Information and Communications Technology for better governance, economic development, social cohesion, and cultural diversity;
- cooperate closely in regional and international scale with the aim to integrate the countries of the region into the global knowledge-based economy.
Recognizing the importance of a strategic approach and political commitments at the level of heads of government in the eEurope and eEurope+ processes, our Governments will aim to prepare an ambitious eSEE AGENDA coherent with EU policies, recognising the relevance of the specific approach of the eEurope+ framework for our countries, covering a series of specific actions to introduce new legislative frameworks and facilitate the further development of the Information Society. The planned eSEE AGENDA is to be agreed by the end of October 2002.
In order to ensure progress in these undertakings, we will appoint senior policy officials from our countries to the eSEE Working Group to prepare the eSEE AGENDA for the approval of our Heads of Government, and subsequently to review progress on its implementation and prepare measures necessary to further development of the Information Society.
We hereby confirm our readiness to integrate the various aspects of developing Information Society into our nationally financed, economic development plans.
We request the EU Member States, the European Commission, and the international community including the EU candidate countries - recognizing the special status of Bulgaria and Romania as EU candidate countries from the SEE region - to support us in achieving these commitments by providing guidance, assistance and transfer of experience needed for the elaboration and implementation of our ambitions.
We welcome regional Information and Communication Technology facilitation-related initiatives, in the framework of the Stability Pact, in areas of interest to our countries.
(Followed by signatures)
Republic of Slovenia, Ministry of Information Society in co-operation with the European Commission, DG Information Society and DG Enlargement
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web: http://emcis.gov.si, http://www.europa.eu.int/eeuropeplus