Neelie Kroes: “No room for investments in broadband networks”

12 Feb, 2013

Neelie Kroes has blogged about her disappointment about the cuts in the EU’s 7-year budget – cuts that have a big impact on her department.

Originally, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) had € 50 billion allocated to it. After budget cuts demanded by David Cameron, however, only € 29,3 billion will be allocated to the CEF – which leaves just € 1 billion for Neelie Kroes’ broadband and digital services, instead of the € 9,2 billion that she asked for.

She says she’s happy with the “significantly increased investment in Horizon 2020″, but disappionted that her budget proposal was cut down:

I am of course disappointed that Member States could not agree on our proposal (…)

She does already know where the priorities will be. The € 1 billion budget will be mostly used for harmonizing service infrastructure in Europe, and not investments in a broadband network:

This still leaves room to invest in service infrastructure, in fields like eProcurement and eInvoicing, that can support a digital single market and ensure top-quality, 21st century public services for Europeans.

But this funding will have to be exclusively for digital services: because such a smaller sum does not leave room for investing in broadband networks.

I regret that: because broadband is essential for a digital single market, the rails on which all tomorrow’s digital services will run; and this could have been an innovative and highly-market oriented way to deliver it, almost budget-neutral in the long run.

Kroes does see some light in a recent € 10 billion capital increase in the European Investment Bank. She indicates that she will lobby the EIB to put money into broadband investments:

I will also continue to work closely with the European Investment Bank to ensure their active involvement in lending for broadband projects. The recent capital increase of the Bank of €10 billion brings the promise of fresh broadband funding, and we should make the most of that.

Europe is trying to spur a European market where it’s easier for businesses and citizens to move around. Rigth now, the European Commission is creating Large Scale Pilot projects for the creation of frictionless, Europe wide solutions for

  • e-identity
  • business documents
  • e-justice
  • health records
  • procurement

Next week, there is a discussion in Brussels about how businesses can take part in the large scale pilots in these sectors.

[via Neelie Kroes, TheRegister]

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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