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E-commerce and the Internet in European businesses
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by Eurostat 16 the future of ICT


The Lisbon European Council of March 2000 set the ambitious objective for Europe to become within ten years the most competitive and dynamic economy in the world. The Lisbon strategy reinforced the response to the knowledge-based society within existing processes and launched the eEurope 2002 Action Plan in June 2000. One of the key actions was to accelerate the use of e-commerce.In March 2001 the Commission launched the “Go digital” initiative with the aim “to help SMEs to adopt e-business”.

In November 2001 the Commission adopted a Communication on “the impact of the e-Economy on European enterprises: economic analysis and policy implications” reviewing the state-of-play in the e-Economy and highlighting the main policy challenges. In May 2002 it adopted a Communication on “eEurope 2005:an Information Society for all” which aims to further contribute to the implementation of the Lisbon strategy, and this was endorsed by the Seville European Council of June 2002 and adopted in December last year. The focus of eEurope 2005 is to exploit broadband technologies to deliver online services in both the public and private sector.

The eEurope 2002 Action Plan included a benchmarking exercise. For eEurope 2005 a new set of benchmarking indicators were proposed by the Commission in November 2002. In order to meet the need for ICT and e-commerce indicators, Eurostat,with the statistical authorities of the EU Member States and Candidate countries, and in co-ordination with the OECD, have worked to develop standards to measure ICT usage and e-commerce within the business community and households.

This publication reports on the results of the second enterprise survey in this area. The survey was undertaken by all EU Member States and Norway. The surveys were generally carried out during the first half of 2002. The surveys concentrated on the measurement of e-commerce in terms of sales and purchases by enterprises via Internet and other computer mediated networks, as well as looking at the use of key information and communication technologies.

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