Three years after the Riga Ministerial conference, it is an appropriate time for assessing the way public policies, at various levels of governmental policy making, have tackled the numerous issues under the e-Inclusion agenda.
Gaps on several of the so-called Riga areas, i.e. the six identified possible causes for eExclusion, still exist, some of them are even possibly widening as a consequence of the global crisis.
Previous studies have amply demonstrated that, in order to be effective, e-Inclusion initiatives had to involve actors from three complementary sectors: Public sector, Private Sector and Civil Society. But in times of global crisis, the natural propensity of private sector to focus on their most immediate goals and customers, and thus often mean that the additional funding difficulties met by civil society stakeholders leave only one actor, namely Public sector, as the one expected to be securing a steady course.
As we get towards the end of the i2010 policy, and because the ambitious goals of reaching an all inclusive society have clearly not been fulfilled yet, it is quite timely to analyze the various e-Inclusion public policy initiatives that have blossomed all across Europe, stemming from Member States, Local Authorities, but also from the European Commission itself and draw lessons from them.
The first objective of this study report is to illustrate, thanks to the analysis of hundreds of initiatives carried out at the policy, but also at the program and project level, where and how public intervention has made a clear difference in terms of reducing digital divide in the particular context it has been initiated. The report seeks also to classify the many possible ways for a public authority to design, launch and follow up e-Inclusion policies. It does so through the combination of two main analytical approaches. First, an exhaustive desk study made of the e-Inclusion National reports published by all Member States (see the box) and of hundreds of published e-Inclusion projects. Second, a thorough and systematic exchange with key stakeholders, representing all EU27 national authorities and some regional practitioners, also including a panel of officials from six General Directorates of the European Commission.
Following on this series of findings, the second part of the report endeavours to offer some observations and practical comments by exploring two important policy making tools, i.e. the role of running and monitoring projects for optimizing the pertinence of policies, and the overarching part played by the Commission for empowering cross-sectoral public intervention, both of these tools being insufficiently recognized and tapped into today.
Finally, the study report puts forward a series of concrete recommendations to the Commission for the post-i2010 European policy on the Information Society.
>> eInclusion public policies in Europe (final report)