European News

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Industrial pollution

Ministers recently got to a common position on the draft Directive on integrated industrial pollution prevention and control. Integration refers to the combined effects on the air, water and the land to seek the best solution for the whole. The Council also reached agreement on a framework for assessing ambient air quality and on the revised Seveso Directive governing industrial accident hazards.

Go East

Small and medium sized (less than 250 employees) enterprises seeking to set up in Eastern Europe can dip into a pot of Euro-money to help them along. Greater London Enterprise has just become the intermediary for the EU's JOPP (originally Joint Opportunities Poland, but now an obsolete name) scheme which has funds of M5 million to splash about. It supports the creation of joint ventures between EU companies and those of central and eastern Europe by providing finance for feasibility studies of potential joint venture projects, training and transfer of technology, and equity financing. If it sounds useful, contact Greater London Enterprise -- no matter where you are in the UK -- on 0171 403 0300.

Multimedia 2000

The Info 2000 programme proposed by the Commission recently aims to develop new multimedia products and services to stimulate user demand. Covering print and electronic publishing, the programme aims to create a Euro network of key organisations to mobilise service users, exploit public information sources and develop multimedia products on culture, business services and geographic information. The proposal envisages a budget of ECU 100 million for 1996-99.

Support for Science Parks

The Commission has issued a call for proposals on support measures for science parks and similar centres of technical excellence for which it will provide much of the funding.

The aim of schemes proposed to the Commission should be to strengthen the professionalism of the science park etc operators, encourage the exchange of best-practice and general knowledge and to develop international relations for its users.

The Commission divides the work into two components:

* Validation -- improving or setting up new or extended local technology initiatives such as science or technology research parks, business and innovation centres, local technology resource centres and the networking of those.

* Auto-evaluation -- to help managers of more mature parks etc, to introduce evaluation and monitoring techniques to the better fulfil their objectives.

The Commission contribution will be half of overall costs and full details, including whether one's own technology facility qualifies, can be obtained from any Commission office or, failing their reaction, from Purnima Madhvi of the DTI Technology and Innovation Policy division, 0171 215 1614.

Digital broadcasting nearer

New sound broadcasting services across Europe using digital radio technology are being thrashed out by the organisation with the quaintly old fashioned name 'European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations'.

The work started with a planning meeting in July in Weisbaden aimed at an eventual agreement on the introduction, including the provision of the necessary frequencies, of the so-called T-DAB (Terrestrial Digital Audio Broadcasting) services across Europe. Using digital technology not only produces a reception quality improvement akin to the difference between a worn out vinyl record and a new CD, it allows broadcasters to introduce interactive services like shopping, route finding, commercial information sources and so on. …