Chapter 8: European Regions and Information Society Policy Instruments
Antonio Alabau INTRODUCTION Since the end of 1993, when the presidency of the European Commission was occupied by Jacques Delors, to nowadays, the European institutions have been insisting on the importance of the Information Society in the social and economic development of Europe. The same idea was also reflected in similar proposals made at the time by the new democratic presidential team in the United States beginning 1993. We can now confirm that the development of the Information Society is becoming one of the motors of the economy and that these early proposals pointed in the right direction. As we enter the new century, the Information Society is, with the participation of private and public sectors, nearly a reality. The interest of private industry in the development of the Information Society became clear during the liberalisation of telecommunication services that concluded in 1998, and grew in the years after, as the increasing use of the Internet reached higher levels. There is now sufficient perspective to begin a detailed analysis of the role played in this process by the various public administrations: European, national, regional and municipal. This is the principal objective of this chapter. This chapter analyses the role of European regions in the development of the Information Society in recent years. We also study the instruments made available for this end to the regions by the European institutions. THE REGIONAL FRAMEWORK OF THE EUROPEAN UNION Public administrations in the EU are traditionally structured in four territorial and administrative levels:...
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