Europe Offers Funding for Asia's IT and Communications Infrastructure
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
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 .