Decision No 276/1999/EC of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 25 January 1999 adopting a multiannual Community
action plan on promoting safer use of the Internet by combating
illegal and harmful content on global networks
Official Journal L 033 , 06/02/1999 p. 0001 - 0011
DECISION No 276/1999/EC OF THE EUROPEAN
PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 25 January 1999 adopting a
multiannual Community action plan on promoting safer use of
the Internet by combating illegal and harmful content on global
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community,
and in particular Article 129a(2),
Having regard to the proposal from the Commission (1),
Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee
Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions
Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article
189b of the Treaty (4),
(1) Whereas the Internet offers positive benefits in particular
in education, by empowering consumers, lowering the barriers
to the creation and distribution of content and offering wide
access to even richer sources of digital information, as recognised
by the Council and the representatives of the Governments of
the Member States, meeting within the Council on 17 February
1997 in their resolution on illegal and harmful content on the
(2) Whereas, however, the amount of harmful and illegal content
carried over the Internet, while limited, could adversely affect
the establishment of the necessary favourable environment for
initiatives and undertakings to flourish;
(3) Whereas it is essential, in order to ensure that consumers
make full use of the Internet, that a safer environment for
its use is created by combating illegal use of the technical
possibilities of the Internet in particular for offences against
children and trafficking in human beings or for the dissemination
of racist and xenophobic ideas;
(4) Whereas consumers should be afforded a high level of protection;
whereas the Community should contribute thereto by specific
action which supports and supplements the policy pursued by
the Member States regarding information for consumers on the
safer use of the Internet;
(5) Whereas promotion of industry self-regulation and content-monitoring
schemes, development of filtering tools and rating systems provided
by the industry and increased awareness of industry services
as well as fostering international cooperation between all parties
concerned will play a crucial role in consolidating that safer
environment and contribute to removing obstacles to the development
and competitiveness of the industry concerned;
(6) Whereas on 24 April 1996 the Council requested the Commission
to produce a summary of problems posed by the rapid development
of the Internet and to assess, in particular, the desirability
of Community or international regulation;
(7) Whereas on 23 October 1996 the Commission transmitted a
communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic
and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on illegal
and harmful content on the Internet and a Green Paper on the
protection of minors and human dignity in audiovisual and information
(8) Whereas the Council and the representatives of the Governments
of the Member States, meeting within the Council, in their abovementioned
resolution of 17 February 1997 welcomed the report of the Commission
working party on illegal and harmful content on the Internet
and requested Member States and the Commission to undertake
a number of actions;
(9) Whereas, in its resolution of 24 April 1997 on the Commission
communication on illegal and harmful content on the Internet
(6), the European Parliament called on the Member States to
strengthen administrative cooperation on the basis of joint
guidelines and on the Commission to propose, after consulting
the European Parliament, a common framework for self-regulation
at European Union level;
(10) Whereas in the ministerial declaration adopted during the
International Ministerial Conference entitled 'Global information
networks: Realising the potential`, held in Bonn on 6 to 8 July
1997 at the initiative of the German Government, Ministers stressed
the role which the private sector can play in protecting the
interests of consumers and in promoting and respecting ethical
standards, through properly functioning systems of self-regulation
in compliance with and supported by the legal system; whereas
they encouraged industry to implement open, platform-independent
content rating systems, and to propose rating services which
meet the needs of different users and take account of Europe's
cultural and linguistic diversity; whereas ministers further
recognised that it is crucial to build trust and confidence
in global information networks by ensuring that basic human
rights are respected and by safeguarding the interests of society
in general, including producers and consumers;
(11) Whereas on 24 September 1998 the Council adopted a recommendation
on the development of the competitiveness of the European audiovisual
and information services industry by promoting national frameworks
aimed at achieving a comparable and effective level of protection
of minors and human dignity (7), hereinafter designated recommendation
on the protection of minors and human dignity; whereas this
action plan will be implemented in close coordination with the
(12) Whereas cooperation from the industry in setting up voluntary
systems of self-regulation can efficiently help to limit the
flow of illegal content on the Internet;
(13) Whereas European coordination of representative and self-regulating
bodies is essential for the Europe-wide effectiveness of such
systems; whereas, to this effect, industry self-regulatory systems
including representative bodies for Internet service providers,
consumers and users, and effective codes of conduct should be
encouraged within the regulatory framework in force; if necessary
hot-line reporting mechanisms which allow users to report content
which they consider illegal should be made available to the
(14) Whereas any hot-line reporting mechanisms should support
and promote measures taken by the Member States; whereas duplication
of work should be avoided; whereas possible hot-line reporting
mechanisms could be established in cooperation with the law-enforcement
authorities of the Member States; whereas the responsibility
for prosecuting and punishing those responsible for illegal
content should remain with the national law-enforcement authorities;
(15) Whereas it is necessary to promote on a European level
the provision to consumers of filtering tools and the setting
up of rating systems, for example the platform for Internet
content selection (PICS) standard launched by the international
World Wide Web consortium with Community support;
(16) Whereas awareness activities which are performed in the
Member States and which should have an additional European value
should be encouraged so that users understand not only the opportunities
but also the drawbacks of the Internet, in order to increase
use of services provided by industry; whereas parents, educators
and consumers, in particular, should be sufficiently informed
so as to be able to take full advantage of parental control
software and rating systems; whereas there should be a multiannual
action plan on promoting safer use of the Internet ('action
(17) Whereas it is essential to engage in cooperation activities
with international organisations and third countries for the
purpose of implementing this action plan and extending its reach
beyond the European Union, given the global character of the
problems encountered on the Internet, requiring global solutions;
(18) Whereas any content policy actions should be complementary
to ongoing national and Community initiatives, as outlined notably
in the Commission's action plan 'Europe's way to the information
society: an action plan`, and should be performed in synergy
with other Community activities in the field such as the INFO
2000 programme (8), with Community research programmes (programmes
concerned with advanced technology, advanced communications
services and telematics) and with Community education, training,
cultural and SME actions and initiatives, and with the Structural
(19) Whereas the activities under this action plan should take
account of the work accomplished in the field of justice and
(20) Whereas the progress of this action plan should be continuously
and systematically monitored with a view to adapting it, where
appropriate, to developments in the audiovisual and multimedia
content market; whereas in due course there should be an independent
assessment of the progress of the action plan so as to provide
the background information needed in order to determine the
objectives for subsequent content policy actions; whereas at
the end of this action plan there should be a final assessment
of results obtained compared with the objectives set out in
(21) Whereas, in conformity with the principle of subsidiarity
as expressed in Article 3b of the Treaty, the objectives of
the proposed actions cannot be sufficiently achieved by the
Member States owing to the transnational character of the issues
at stake and can, therefore, by reason of the pan-European effects
of the proposed action be better achieved by the Community;
(22) Whereas this action plan should be of four years duration
in order to allow sufficient time for actions to be implemented
to achieve the objectives set;
(23) Whereas this Decision lays down, for the entire duration
of the action plan, a financial framework constituting the principal
point of reference, within the meaning of point 1 of the Declaration
by the European Parliament, the Council and Commission of 6
March 1995 (9), for the budgetary authority during the annual
HAVE ADOPTED THIS DECISION:
1. The multiannual Community action plan on promoting safer
user of the Internet ('the action plan`), as described in Annex
I, is hereby adopted.
2. The action plan shall cover a period of four years from 1
January 1999 to 31 December 2002.
3. The financial framework for the implementation of the action
plan for the period from 1 January 1999 to 31 December 2002
is hereby set at EUR 25 million.
The annual appropriations shall be authorised by the budgetary
authority within the limits of the financial perspective.
An indicative breakdown of expenditure is given in Annex II.
The action plan has the objective of promoting safer use of
the Internet and of encouraging, at European level, an environment
favourable to the development of the Internet industry.
In order to attain the objective referred to in Article 2, the
following actions supporting and promoting measures to be taken
in the Member States shall be undertaken under the guidance
of the Commission, in accordance with the action lines set out
in Annex I and the means for implementing the action plan set
out in Annex III:
- promotion of industry self-regulation and content-monitoring
schemes (for example, dealing with content such as child pornography
or content which incites hatred on grounds of race, sex, religion,
nationality or ethnic origin),
- encouraging industry to provide filtering tools and rating
systems, which allow parents or teachers to select content appropriate
for children in their care while allowing adults to decide what
legal content they wish to access, and which take account of
linguistic and cultural diversity,
- increasing awareness of services provided by industry among
users, in particular parents, teachers and children, so that
they can better understand and take advantage of the opportunities
of the Internet,
- support actions such as assessment of legal implications,
- activities fostering international cooperation in the areas
- other actions furthering the objective set out in Article
1. The Commission shall be responsible for the implementation
of the action plan.
2. The procedure laid down in Article 5 shall apply to:
- the work programme including any expenditure on activities
described in Annex III, point 9,
- the breakdown of the budgetary expenditure,
- the criteria and content of calls for proposals,
- the assessment of the projects proposed under calls for proposals
for Community funding and the estimated amount of the Community
contribution for each project where this is equal to or more
than EUR 300 000,
- the measures for programme evaluation,
- any departure from the rules set out in Annex III,
- participation in any project by legal entities from third
countries and international organisations referred to in Article
- other actions which could be undertaken under the terms of
the last indent of Article 3.
3. Where, pursuant to the fourth indent of paragraph 2, the
amount of the Community contribution is less than EUR 300 000,
the Commission shall inform the committee referred to in Article
5 of the projects and of the outcome of their assessment.
4. The Commission shall regularly inform the committee referred
to in Article 5 of progress with the implementation of the programme
as a whole.
The Commission shall be assisted by a committee composed of
representatives of the Member States and chaired by the representative
of the Commission.
The representative of the Commission shall submit to the committee
a draft of the measures to be taken. The committee shall deliver
its opinion on the draft within a time limit which the chairman
may lay down according to the urgency of the matter. The opinion
shall be delivered by the majority laid down in Article 148(2)
of the Treaty in the case of decisions which the Council is
required to adopt on a proposal from the Commission. The votes
of the representatives of the Member States within the Committee
shall be weighted in the manner set out in that Article. The
chairman shall not vote.
The Commission shall adopt the measures envisaged if they are
in accordance with the opinion of the committee.
If the measures envisaged are not in accordance with the opinion
of the committee, or if no opinion is delivered, the Commission
shall without delay submit to the Council a proposal relating
to the measures to be taken. The Council shall act by a qualified
If, on the expiry of a period of three months from the date
of referral to the Council, the Council has not acted, the proposed
measures shall be adopted by the Commission.
1. In order to ensure that Community aid is used efficiently,
the Commission shall ensure that actions under this Decision
are subject to effective prior appraisal, monitoring and subsequent
2. During implementation of projects and after their completion
the Commission shall evaluate the manner in which they have
been carried out and the impact of their implementation in order
to assess whether the original objectives have been achieved.
3. The selected beneficiaries shall submit an annual report
to the Commission.
4. At the end of two years and at the end of the action plan,
the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament, the
Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee
of the Regions, once the committee referred to in Article 5
has examined it, an evaluation report on the results obtained
in implementing the action lines set out in Annex I. Reference
shall also be made to general findings applicable to all categories
of illegal content. The Commission may present, on the basis
of those results, proposals for adjusting the orientation of
the action plan.
1. Participation in this action plan may be opened to legal
entities established in EFTA States which are members of the
European Economic Area (EEA) in accordance with the provisions
of the Agreement on the EEA.
2. Participation may be opened to legal entities established
in associated central and eastern European countries in accordance
with the conditions, including financial arrangements, agreed
to in the additional protocols to the Association Agreements,
including participation in Community programmes.
Participation may be opened to legal entities established in
Cyprus on the basis of additional appropriations in accordance
with the same rules as those applied to the EFTA States that
are members of the EEA, in accordance with procedures to be
agreed on with that country.
3. Participation may be opened, in accordance with the procedure
laid down in Article 5, without financial support by the Community
under this action plan, to legal entities established in other
third countries and to international organisations, where such
participation contributes effectively to the implementation
of the action plan and taking into account the principle of
This Decision is addressed to the Member States.
Done at Brussels, 25 January 1999.
For the European Parliament
J. M. GIL-ROBLES
For the Council
(1) OJ C 48, 13. 2. 1998, p. 8, and OJ C
324, 22. 10. 1998, p. 6.
(2) OJ C 214, 10. 7. 1998, p. 29.
(3) OJ C 251, 10. 8. 1998, p. 51.
(4) Opinion of the European Parliament of 2 July 1998 (OJ C
226, 20. 7. 1998, p. 33), Council common position of 24 September
1998 (OJ C 360, 23. 11. 1998, p. 83) and Decision of the European
Parliament of 17 November 1998 (OJ C 379, 7. 12. 1998). Council
Decision of 21 December 1998.
(5) OJ C 70, 6. 3. 1997, p. 1.
(6) OJ C 150, 19. 5. 1997, p. 38.
(7) OJ L 270, 7. 10. 1998, p. 48.
(8) Council Decision 96/339/EC of 20 May 1996 adopting a multiannual
Community programme to stimulate the development of a European
multimedia content industry and to encourage the use of multimedia
content in the emerging information society (INFO 2000) (OJ
L 129, 30. 5. 1996, p. 24).
(9) OJ C 102, 4. 4. 1996, p. 4.
COMMUNITY ACTION PLAN ON PROMOTING SAFER USE OF THE INTERNET
The action lines, in conjunction with the recommendation on
protection of minors and human dignity, are a means of implementing
a European approach to safer use of the Internet, based on industry
self-regulation, filtering and rating and awareness. Strong
support has been expressed for this approach at the level of
the European Parliament and of the Council and Member States,
as well as in the wider European context of the Bonn Declaration
agreed to by ministers from 29 European States.
The action lines have the following objectives:
- to incite the actors (industry, users) to develop and implement
adequate systems of self regulation,
- to pump-prime developments by supporting demonstrations and
stimulating application of technical solutions,
- to alert and inform parents and teachers, in particular through
their relevant associations,
- to foster cooperation and exchange of experiences and best
practices at European and international levels,
- to promote coordination across Europe and between actors concerned,
- to ensure compatibility between the approach taken in Europe
1. Action line 1. Creating a safer environment
Cooperation from the industry and a fully functioning system
of self-regulation are essential elements in limiting the flow
of illegal content on the Internet.
1.1. Creating a European network of hot-lines
An effective way to restrict circulation of illegal material
is to set up a European network of centres (known as hot-lines)
which allow users to report content which they come across in
the course of their use of the Internet and which they consider
to be illegal. Responsibility for prosecuting and punishing
those responsible for illegal content remains with the national
law-enforcement authorities, while the hot-line aims at revealing
the existence of illegal material with a view to restricting
its circulation. Differences in national legal systems and culture
must also be respected.
So far, hot-lines exist only in a limited number of Member States.
Their creation needs to be stimulated so that there are hot-lines
operating covering the Union both geographically and linguistically.
Mechanisms for exchange of information between the national
hot-lines, and between the European network and hot-lines in
third countries need to be put in place.
In order for this network to develop its full potential, it
is necessary to improve cooperation between industry and law-enforcement
authorities, ensure Europe-wide coverage and cooperation, and
increase effectiveness through exchange of information and experience.
This action will take the form of a call for proposals for participating
organisations (20-25) to establish a European network of hot-lines,
and links between this network and hot-lines in third countries,
develop common approaches and stimulate transfer of know-how
and best practice.
The participating organisations will be supported by a cross-section
of industry actors (access and service providers, telecoms operators,
national hot-line operators) and users. They will have to demonstrate
a forward-looking and innovative approach, in particular in
their relationship with national law-enforcement authorities.
1.2. Encouraging self-regulation and codes
For the industry to contribute effectively to restricting the
flow of illegal and harmful content, it is also important to
encourage enterprises to develop a self-regulatory framework
through cooperation between them and the other parties concerned.
The self-regulatory mechanism should provide a high level of
protection and address questions of traceability.
In view of the transnational nature of communications networks,
the effectiveness of self-regulation measures will be strengthened,
at European Union level, by coordination of national initiatives
between the bodies responsible for their implementation.
Under this action line, guidelines at European level will be
developed for codes of conduct, to build consensus for their
application and support their implementation. This action will
be carried out through a call for tender to select organisations
that can assist self-regulatory bodies in developing and implementing
codes of conduct. In connection with the establishment of codes
of conduct, a system of visible 'quality-site labels` will be
encouraged to assist users in identifying Internet service providers
that adhere to codes of conduct. Measures will be taken carefully
to monitor progress. This will be done in close coordination
with the promotion of common guidelines for the implementation,
at national level, of a self-regulation framework as advocated
by the Council recommendation on protection of minors and human
2. Action line 2. Developing filtering and
To promote safer use of the Internet, it is important to make
content easier to identify. This can be done through a rating
system which describes the content in accordance with a generally
recognised scheme (for instance, where items such as sex or
violence are rated on a scale) and by filtering systems which
empower the user to select the content he/she wishes to receive.
Ratings may be attached by the content provider or provided
by a third-party rating service. There are a number of possible
filtering and rating systems. However, their level of sophistication
is still low and none has yet reached the 'critical mass` where
users can be sure that content in which they are interested
and content which they wish to avoid will be rated appropriately
and that perfectly innocuous content will not be blocked. Uptake
of rating systems by European content providers and users remains
The measures under this action line will focus on demonstrating
the potential and the limitations of filtering and rating systems
in a real world environment, with the objective of encouraging
the establishment of European systems and familiarising users
with their use. Filtering and rating systems must be internationally
compatible and interoperable and developed with full cooperation
of representatives of industry, consumers and users.
2.1. Demonstrating the benefits of filtering
Rating systems will be stimulated which should be internationally
compatible and are relevant to European requirements and which
ensure that filtering and rating is implemented in a way which
provides workable options in practice for users, parents and
teachers. In order to build critical mass, a wide coverage of
sites should be obtained. Action will therefore be taken to
stimulate use of rating by content providers. Rating carried
out by independent third parties ensures a standard approach
to content rating and deals with cases where the content provider
fails to rate properly. There is a need to meet specific requirements
of business, institutional or educational users as well as those
of end users not met by the content provider's rating system.
Following a call for proposals, projects will be selected to
validate rating systems in relation to European content, to
encourage integration of rating into the content creation process
and to demonstrate benefits of these technical solutions. Emphasis
will be placed on usefulness and practicality in 'real-world`
situations involving a large cross-section of typical users.
This could also include tests as to the secureness of filtering
software against attempts to bypass or deactivate it.
A second call for proposals will particularly target the validation
and demonstration of third-party rating systems.
In order to obtain maximum benefit from the demonstration projects,
it is necessary to assess their impact and to ensure European-wide
dissemination of their results. Evaluation of the demonstration
projects and dissemination of their results will be the subject
of a call for tenders.
The demonstration projects under this Action line can make an
important contribution to the awareness actions to be carried
out under action line 3.
The demonstration projects will involve industry (self-regulatory
bodies, access and service providers, content providers, network
operators, software houses), user, consumer and citizens rights
groups and government bodies involved in industry regulation
and law enforcement.
2.2. Facilitating international agreement
on rating systems
International cooperation between operators and other concerned
parties in the European Union and their partners in other regions
of the world is particularly necessary in the field of rating,
in order to ensure interoperability.
Work is already under way in a number of bodies dealing with
protocols and with the design of a rating system to deal with
the various requirements. It is essential that Europe's voice
be heard in international discussions and concertation meetings
will be organised to ensure this.
3. Action line 3. Encouraging awareness
The public is increasingly engaging in Internet activity and
reaping the benefits of the new services. At the same time,
there is a degree of uncertainty as to how to deal with every
aspect of network communication; parents, teachers and children
need to be made aware of the potential of the Internet and its
drawbacks and do not always have sufficient knowledge about
the means to protect children from undesirable content. Awareness
actions contribute to the trust and confidence of parents and
teachers in safer use of the Internet by children.
Awareness is also the necessary complement of action lines 1
and 2, since the actions of industry to implement self-regulation
and filtering and rating will bear fruit only if users and potential
users are aware of them.
The European Parliament has called for the implementation of
a European campaign and an information and awareness action
programme, to be funded by the EU budget, to inform parents
and all people dealing with children (teachers, social workers,
etc.) on the best way (including technical aspects) to protect
minors against exposure to content that could be harmful to
their development, so as to ensure their well-being.
European action, on the basis of actions undertaken by the Member
States, will contribute to reinforcement of synergy, in particular
through exchange of information and experience. The action plan
will initiate awareness actions that will build on the dissemination
of information from access providers to customers, and also
develop material for use in the education sector.
The awareness initiatives will take advantage of the awareness
actions carried out under other programmes, in particular the
MIDAS-NET established under INFO 2000. If there is more than
one equal option for distributing information to target groups,
the most cost-effective one shall be chosen. Whenever possible
and useful, electronic distribution should be given priority.
This action will be carried out in two stages. In the first
stage the best means of achieving the objectives will be identified
and in the second stage multiplier organisations in the Member
States - such as consumer bodies and other relevant associations
- will be assisted to implement actions nationally.
3.1. Preparing the ground for awareness
In the first phase a call for proposals will be launched for
a preparatory action which will identify multiplier organisations
and the most appropriate channels, media and content to reach
the target audience, prepare basic material, adapt it for linguistic
and cultural specificities and take account of the results of
demonstration projects under action line 2, which will make
an important contribution to the content of awareness actions.
An implementation plan will be prepared.
The target audience is parents and teachers, and the action
will involve industry (Internet service providers, content providers)
and multipliers, e.g. consumer associations and the education
3.2. Encouraging implementation of full-scale
A second call for proposals will select initiatives for Community
support for follow-up action in all Member States using the
multiplier organisations and the channels, media and content
identified in the preparatory action. The purpose of the action
is to make adults (parents and teachers) aware of the potential
and the drawbacks of the Internet, and of the means to identify
useful content and how to block harmful content.
Actions will be appropriate for the needs of Member States and
may differ according to their size, population, degree of Internet
use, etc. Actions will be of two types: those focused on teachers
and the education sector and those with a broader focus aimed
at the general public (parents and children).
Actions aimed at teachers could include workshops and preparation
of specific printed and multimedia material for distribution
to a large cross-section of members of the profession. Special
'netdays` (a series of special events aimed at increasing user
awareness) can be organised in collaboration with the 'Learning
in the information society action plan`, which has wide support
from industry. Typical actions aimed at the general public would
include: creation of websites and distribution of information
material in schools, through access providers and through shops
and other outlets selling computers, distribution of CD-ROMs
on computer magazines. More specific information can be given
in connection with the purchase of equipment or software designed
to access networks, or by Internet access providers to new subscribers.
Traditional media (press, television) would also be used to
stimulate awareness through publicity campaigns and information
packs for journalists. Using the platform of the European network
of schools, which is being set up with the support of the education
ministries of Member States, special webpages will be created
The purpose of the Community support is to pump-prime large-scale
awareness actions and to provide overall coordination and exchange
of experience so that lessons can be drawn from the results
of the action on an ongoing basis (for instance by adapting
the material distributed). Community funding will in general
not exceed one third of eligible costs. The use of existing
networks will permit cost saving, but additional financing is
required to produce the relevant content.
4. Action line 4. Support actions
4.1. Assessing legal implications
The Internet operates on a global basis. The law operates on
a territorial basis - national or, in the case of Community
law, covering the European Union. It will contribute to the
effectiveness of the other action lines by considering legal
questions not dealt with by other Community initiatives, in
particular including questions of applicable law and procedure.
If necessary, a call for tenders could be organised for an assessment
of legal questions raised by the content or the use of Internet,
in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 5.
4.2. Coordination with similar international
The recommendation on protection of minors and human dignity
calls on the Commission to promote international cooperation
in the various fields covered by that recommendation, particularly
through the sharing of experience and good practices between
operators and other concerned parties in the European Union
and their partners in other regions of the world. It is therefore
necessary to ensure coherence between European action and similar
initiatives in other parts of the world. Regular concertation
meetings will help to achieve this.
An international conference, agreed in accordance with the procedure
laid down in Article 5, might allow the experience gained through
the action lines to be shared with actors concerned both in
Europe and more widely. This could deal with all of the issues
addressed by the action plan and bring together industry (self-regulatory
bodies, access and service providers, content providers, network
operators, software houses), user, consumer and citizens rights
groups and government bodies involved in industry regulation
and law enforcement. Such a conference could also be instrumental
in disseminating the results of the action plan.
The Conference would build on the results of other conferences
on related themes and thus avoid duplication of efforts.
The Commission will consult the committee referred to in Article
5 before organising such a conference.
4.3. Evaluating the impact of Community
It is obviously important to make an in-depth evaluation whether
the objectives of the action plan and the recommendation have
been achieved. Possible further measures which should be taken
by industry, Community institutions, Member States or consumer
representatives could also be identified in that way. The evaluation
will be carried out in liaison with evaluating the measures
taken to protect minors and human dignity foreseen by the recommendation
on protection of minors and human dignity and will be launched
through a call for tenders.
THE MEANS FOR
IMPLEMENTING THE ACTION PLAN
1. The Commission will implement the action plan in accordance
with the technical content specified in Annex I.
2. The action plan will be performed through indirect action
and wherever possible on a shared-cost basis. The Community's
financial contribution should not exceed the minimum considered
necessary for a project and shall be granted, in principle,
only if the project meets financial obstacles which cannot otherwise
be overcome. In addition, the Community's financial contribution
shall not normally exceed 50 % of the cost of the project, except
in duly justified cases.
3. The selection of shared-cost projects will normally be based
on the usual procedure of calls for proposals published in the
Official Journal of the European Communities. The content of
the calls for proposals will be defined in close consultation
with the relevant experts and according to the procedures referred
to in the Decision. The main criterion for supporting projects
through calls for proposals will be their potential contribution
to achieving the objectives of the action plan.
4. Applications for Community support should provide, where
appropriate, a financial plan listing all the components of
the funding of the projects, including the financial support
requested from the Community, and any other requests for or
grants of support from other sources.
5. The Commission may also implement a funding scheme more flexible
than the call for proposals in order to provide incentives for
the creation of partnerships, in particular involving SMEs and
organisations in less favoured regions, and for the establishment
of long-term measures against illegal and harmful content on
the Internet. This scheme might be operated on a permanent basis.
6. The Commission will make provision for considering in exceptional
cases unsolicited project proposals which involve a particularly
urgent measure following technological changes that call for
change of action.
7. The detailed arrangements for the procedures referred to
under points 5 and 6 will be implemented in accordance with
Article 5 of this Decision and the Commission's financial regulations.
They will be published in the Official Journal of the European
8. Projects fully financed by the Commission within the framework
of study and services contracts will be implemented through
calls for tenders in accordance with the financial provisions.
Transparency will be achieved by consulting external groups
of experts (the Internet Working Party and the Legal Advisory
Board) as well as actively using the information services of
the Commission in connection with the awareness measures.
9. In the course of the action plan, the Commission will also
undertake preparatory, accompanying and support activities designed
to achieve the general objectives of the action plan and the
specific aims of each action line. This includes activities
such as: studies in support of the general goals of the action
plan; preliminary actions in preparation of future activities;
measures aimed at facilitating participation in measures under
the action plan as well as facilitating access to the results
produced by action plan initiatives.
10. All projects receiving financial support will be required
to display an acknowledgement of the support received.