Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Details on the euPad regulation

Last month, the standard-setting EU news site Brussels Jungle has revealed that there will be the euPad, the all in one EU tablet with the best new features for the old continent.

The EU telecommunication ministers now have asked the European Commission to draft a regulation that should lay down the specifics of the device as a necessary condition for EU citizens and business to be allowed to use it on a daily basis.

First indications on the details of the regulation show that according to EU standards it needs to operate in 23 languages at once, blocking any website or app that doesn't fulfil the requirements. Every application and website shown on the euPad thus has to be confirmed by a special national authority set up for this purpose only. These authorities could be co-ordinated by the European Moveable Electronic Devices and Small End User Computers Agency (EMEDSEUCA), probably set up on La Réunion.

The European Commissioner for Consumer Policy, John Dalli, also has already made clear that every euPad has to come with a warning sign that covers at least 30% of the frontside listing all the possible dangers of the internet.

In the same line, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has made clear that employees may not use those devices more than one hour per day to protect their eyes and may not share the euPad with other colleagues in order to lower the risk of the transmission of work-related diseases such as laziness and procrastination.

Antonio Tajani, EU Commissioner for Industry has reportedly spoken with the music and film industry which demands that the euPad should not be able to play music or videos because most of them are copied, and if the industry cannot make money out of audiovisual material, nobody in the EU should be able to watch or listen to anything. EU budget Commissioner Lewandowski has already applauded this proposal because this will strengthen his arguments to scrap the costly production of EU promotional and informational audiovisual material for the internet.

It is expected that the European Book Seller Federation and the representatives of the European paper industry will meet their respective contacts in the EU institutions to also make sure that it should not be possible to replace the good old printed book with the device, limiting the use of the euPad to official EU documents and other non-relevant texts produced by comparable national authorities.

On the request of one member state's delegation, the Commission will now first organise a 6-month consultation process asking industry and citizens which other features they would not like to see included in the device.

A Commission official told your blogger that this would then need to be complemented by a feasibility study and a large-scale needs assessment study that can be executed by the EU's Joint Research Centre in close co-operation with the Data Protection Supervisor, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, the latter to make sure that the new tool will reflect the actual needs of local communities' mayors, regional tsars and citizens not yet covered by other democratic institutions.

The results of the studies are expected for 2013.

The final regulation will most likely have to go through the Conciliation Committee, because it is hard to imagine that EU Parliament and Council will be able to agree on what they don't want the euPad to do and what kind of cultural projects in the least important constituencies of MEPs need to be co-financed to make them agree to this piece of legislation.

It is thus expected that the regulation will probably be in place until 2017, before a European industry consortium can start specifying the necessary technical details, making sure that the number of parts of the euPad is a multiple of 27 so that every EU member state can produce an equal number before the final product will be assembled in China.

If there are no complications, the innovative euPad will be ready in 2025, showing that Europe has become the most innovative and productive region in the world thanks to the Europe 2020 reform process.

4 comments:

Grahnlaw said...

Julien,

Having read the realistic description of the legal and administrative process, I began to think that it might be better to make a braver technological leap by including in the next research framework programme funding for basic studies concerning the potential invention of the steam engine.

mathew said...

As usual, the whole timetable is ridiculously unrealistically optimistic!

Anonymous said...

Did CEN/CENELEC already approve all euPAD standards? or is it ETSI?

Julien Frisch said...

@anonymous

No, this has now been referred to the comitology and will be agreed on by the respective experts in the 10 committees responsible. They will decide whether this is a matter for CEN/CENELEC or ETSI.