Posted by John Vassallo 
Vice President EU Legal and Corporate Affairs

(Cross posted from microsoft.eu)

Microsoft welcomes the “Digital Agenda for Europe,” announced earlier this week by European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes, as a bold roadmap for action. We share the Commission’s view that technology is an enabler for economic growth, job creation, sustainability and social inclusion. As a company, we are fully committed to working with the European Commission and governments to realize the potential of Europe's digital future.

The Digital Agenda sets out concrete actions in a number of important areas, such as harmonizing the delivery of pan-EU digital services, driving connectivity and broadband penetration, as well as promoting interoperability across the range of the ICT agenda. These actions can act as a spur for Europe’s competitiveness and for the broader innovation and economic growth agenda. The Digital Agenda also addresses online security, data privacy and identity management so that Europe’s Internet users have greater trust and confidence online. We commend this action and the preparation for measures that address jurisdiction in cyberspace at European and International level. These steps are essential to pave the way for the roll-out of next generation technologies, like cloud computing, that will benefit citizens and business across Europe.

Building on our long-standing investment and commitment in Europe, Microsoft will continue to partner with the Commission, EU institutions and member states to further develop our long standing investments in Europe. We welcome the proposal for concrete actions in a number of important areas:

  1. Harmonizing divergent national regulatory regimes, which can obstruct the delivery of pan-EU digital services
  2. Driving connectivity and broadband penetration
  3. Promoting interoperability across a range of ICT solutions, and improving online security and data privacy so that Europe’s Internet users have greater confidence online.
  4. Proposing digital literacy and competences as a priority for the European Social Fund regulation.

    Defining a minimum common set of patient data for interoperability of patient records to be accessed or exchanged electronically across Member States.

The Digital Agenda offers many opportunities for collaboration across the ICT sector and with policymakers, particularly with regard to interoperability. Microsoft has made enormous strides over the last ten years, from our Interoperability Principles, our extensive collaborative work with many open source vendors, and the opening of widely used formats and other technologies. We commend the Commission for seeking consistent interoperability practices across industry towards this aim and we look forward to working with the full range of industry partners and the public sector in the coming months and years ahead in this and in all areas included in the Digital Agenda.