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Europe Offers Funding for Asia's IT and Communications Infrastructure
By offering 19 million euros to Asia through an IT and communications funding project EC hopes to promote IT&C development and strengthen alliances between Europe and South and Southeast Asia.
Posted May 30, 2001
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The European Commission (EC) has offered 19 million euros to co-fund projects through the Asia information technology and communications (IT&C) program.

Through the Asia IT&C program the two regions could share their experiences of building "e-Europe" and "e-Asia" and strengthen their links, said Klauspeter Schmallenbach, EC ambassador and head of the delegation of the EC to Thailand, at the Asia-Europe IT&T seminar last week.

Schmallenbach said over the next five years, the program should kick-start some 100 projects.

European Commission Information Society Director-General Erick Habers, pointed out that the Asia IT&C program aims to promote the development of IT&C and intensify alliances between the 15 EU member states and 17 countries in South and Southeast Asia.

The initiative is run through Programme Management Offices (PMO) in Brussels and Bangkok and the contact focal points in each country.

Habers said that eight areas of activity would cover society, education, electronic commerce, health, agriculture, transport, tourism and intelligent manufacturing.

Consortiums from the EU and 17 Asian countries can propose projects and be granted up to 80 percent co-financing. To be eligible, the projects proposed to the PMO must involve at least three partners - two from European member states and at least one from the Asian country.

Habers added that so far 16 projects have been selected by the Asia IT&C with a total investment in joint projects of seven million euros, of which four million euros was funded by Asia IT&C.

Meanwhile, an Asia-Europe consultative meeting on IT&C cooperation was held as a part of the seminar.

The meeting agreed to further continue dialogue around the objectives which were proposed at ASEM 3, fostering the development of networks of collaboration on IT&C and development among ASEM partners.

Thailand's National Science and Technology Development Agency (NstDA) director Dr Pairash Thajchayapong said that the meeting agreed to explore the possibility of collaboration in five major areas:

  • an Asia-Europe supply chain initiative (e-ASEM supply chain);
  • Asia-Europe information, research and trade network (ASEM digital route);
  • exchanges of researchers;
  • exchange of information, experience, and technical cooperation through joint research, seminars and training courses; and
  • an Asia-Europe people-to-people exchange.

    The e-ASEM supply chain is to facilitate trade among ASEM partners and eventually promote e-commerce activities between the two regions, while the ASEM digital route is to facilitate and promote the flow of knowledge, information and research.

    According to National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec) director, Dr Thaweesak Koanantakool, Thailand has proposed that it be responsible for carrying out the information exchange for ASEM by creating the "Asia-Europe ICT Cooperation" Web site, at http://www.asem.inter.net .

    --Reported by Newsbytes.com, http://www.newsbytes.com .

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