IT and telecoms will boost economic recovery, says EC

The European Commission has called on businesses to step up "smart investments" in technology during the economic recession.

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The European Commission has called on businesses to step up "smart investments" in technology during the economic recession.

EC president José Manuel Barroso called on member states to continue efforts to modernise Europe's infrastructure, in particular high-speed broadband.

Speaking during a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, Barroso said the need for high-speed internet connections is "as important as building railways in the nineteenth century".

The Commission announced it would make €5 billion available during 2009-10 for broadband infrastructure project and trans-European energy networks. The ambitious goal is 100 percent coverage of high speed internet by 2010.

The European Commission called on states to unite in an EU-wide fiscal stimulus package worth €200 billion euros (£170 billion) in an attempt to stave off recession.

"The plan sets out a comprehensive longer-term strategy based on smart investment now and in the future, and is based on investment both in people and in business, including investment in skills, energy efficiency, infrastructure, interconnectivity, innovation and clean technology," said Barroso.

"This is how we ensure that the short-term fiscal stimulus is also a platform for sustainable growth and jobs in the future. It shall reach all across the board of the economy, from the auto industry to the construction sector."

Other IT-related measures suggested by the EC include stepping up investments in "clean technologies", including a European green cars initiative with combined funding of at least €5 billion; a European energy-efficient buildings initiative worth €1 billion; and a "factories of the future" initiative estimated at €1.2 billion.

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