The European Commissioner for the Information Society, Erkki Liikanen, and German Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der attended a high-level meeting on May 8 in Berlin within the framework of a German initiative aimed at fostering growth of the information society. The meeting emphasised the importance of broadband internet as the essential infrastructure for the use of rich applications and services, improving the functionality, performance and accessibility of online public services and enabling a dynamic e-business environment.
Also present at the meeting were the members of the German "Initiative D21", which aims at better exploiting the opportunities offered by the Information Society in terms of competitiveness, growth and employment. 'D21' stands for Germany in the 21st Century - the digital century. The initiative has to be seen in the framework of Member States' efforts to put national broadband strategies in place by the end of the year, as requested by the Spring European Council. Mr Liikanen recalled that as part of eEurope 2005, Member States are called upon to connect all public administrations with broadband by that date. Beyond that, one 2005 objective is that at least half of Internet connections should be broadband. The German Federal Government has also set 2005 as the date by which broadband will have to be the dominant way of accessing the Internet.