[ffii] SME associations call on Commission to fix ICT Task Force weaknesses

Jonas Maebe jmaebe at ffii.org
Tue Jul 4 13:03:27 CEST 2006

PRESS RELEASE -- [ Europe / Economy / ICT ]

   SME associations call on Commission to fix ICT Task Force weaknesses

Brussels, London, Berlin, Warsaw, Ljubljana, 4th July 2006 -- In an open
letter to the EU Commission, six small business associations have called
on Commissioners Verheugen and Reding to modify their plans for a task
force, designed "to define the future EU policy in ICT".

The proposed task force mainly consists of large IT firms, such as IBM,
Cisco, and Intel, and the undersigning associations accuse the
Commission of ignoring the fact that 80 percent of the European IT
sector, by value, consists of small and medium-sized firms, who are
unrepresented in this task force but must bear the brunt of the policies
defined by the EU Commission.

Pieter Hintjens, President of FFII, an association which represents 3500
European IT companies, states: "The idea that we can create EU-wide
policy and legislation without input from a broad base has been
discredited. The EU must become more inclusive and less elitist if it is
to survive the challenges of public opinion in the decades ahead.  We
are giving the Commission the opportunity to work with the majority now,
rather than face mass opposition later when it presents yet one more set
of special-interest proposals that damage the market."

David Ramsden, Chairman of PCG, a cross-sector representative body that
represents the interests of 12000 freelancers in the UK points out:
"Many of the EU's most dynamic businesses in the ICT sector are also the
smallest. The companies represented by PCG exemplify the significance of
small firms to this area of the economy. It is vital that they are fully
represented on any Task Force or other body relating to the sector."

Marco Schulze, spokesman for the 600 German companies of PatentFrei.de
adds: "We hope that the European Commission, which ignored the interests
of majorities already repeatedly, will take the true mainspring of
economic strength - namely the SMEs - into account this time. Europe
cannot afford to shape its policies according to the wishes of
financially powerful minorities, if it really pursues to reach the
Lissabon goals."

Slawomir Kosz, President of the Polish Software Market Association
declares: "I think that representatives of the new member states should
be involved, and this is clearly not the case in the current Task

Stefan Zickgraf, Secretary of CEA-PME, an umbrella assocation of SMEs in
Brussels precises: "All relevant SME-stakeholders should be heard to
keep up with promises made. CEA-PME represents more than 250.000 SMEs
throughout the EU 25, of which an important number are active in the ICT
sector. We don't believe that the actual Task Force sufficiently
represents SME interest. Indeed it looks like it is only pretending to
do so by giving floor to a single SME-organisation, which cannot on its
own integrally represent all SME interests in these matters."

Andrej Mertlej, President of the Slovene Software Developers Assocation
KODA, says: "We must not forget that SAP, Microsoft and Apple were all
SMEs once. To grow the big we must foster the small. If the EU is
serious about its bet on SMEs, the inclusion of smaller IT companies and
their representatives would be considered a strong statement and a
bright waypoint."


* The Open Letter:

* The Commission webpage of the ICT Task Force:

* FFII wiki page about the ICT TaskForce:

* This Press Release:

Contact information

Benjamin Henrion
FFII Brussels
+32-2-414 84 03 (fixed)
+32-484-56 61 09 (mobile)
bhenrion at ffii.org

About the signatories

About the FFII -- http://www.ffii.org

The FFII is a not-for-profit association registered in twenty European
countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the
public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, open standards.
More than 850 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have
entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions
concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.

About PCG UK -- http://www.pcg.org.uk

The Professional Contractors Group (PCG) is the not-for-profit trade
association that represents the interests of freelance consultants and
contractors in the UK. Its aim is to secure full recognition of them as
a genuine and valuable sector of the economy, generating wealth and
employment and providing industry with a flexible workforce.

About PatentFrei.de -- http://www.patentfrei.de

Patentfrei.de is a campaign of the German Entrepreneur's Initiative
"Unternehmer gegen Softwarepatentierung", which represents more than 600
companies in Germany. The campaign aims at informing the public about
the risks for our economy imposed by software patents.

About CEA-PME -- http://www.cea-pme.org

CEA-PME is an ideologically neutral and non-party Confederation of
national business organisations. It represents the interests of small
and medium-sized enterprises of all branches and professional groups to
the European institutions with the aim to give SME's a voice
commensurate to their importance for the European economy.

About PRO -- http://www.pro.org.pl

The Polish Software Market Association was established by programmers
and software publishers in 1992. PRO represents Polish Sotware Producers
and Marketers in their efforts to create a better legal basis for
software industry. PRO orders and publishes well-established surveys of
the Polish Software Market and provides forums for cooperation between
programmers, publishers and marketers of software.

About KODA -- http://www.gzs.si/koda.si

KODA.SI is the Slovene Software Developer's Organisation that functions
as a body of Chamber of Commerce of Slovenia. Its members are companies
that have at least one development center in Slovenia. Established in
2004 it gained it's reputation in discoussions about software patents,
preparations of EURO adoption in Slovenia and in it's cooperation in TP

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