The role of Europe in shaping the future of the Internet remains to be defined as the European Union's institutions are bracing for a long battle with governments of the union's 27 member states over the amount of money that is to be made available for research & development projects in the ICT sector.
The amount of money that will be assigned to the new Horizon2020 research funding programme will show exactly where Europe's ambitions are when it comes to determining which technologies will serve people online.
An initial European Commission proposal to double the research budget to 100 billion euro for seven years has already been lowered to 80 billion. A member of the European Parliament, Maria Da Graça Carvalho, familiar with the negotiations, on Thursday told the Paradiso-FP7 conference that Germany has indicated it's willing to support a budget just below 80 billion for the seven-year period starting in 2014. That still would be a significant increase over the current seven-year budget of 50 billion euro which is ending in 2013.
The current round of ICT research funding is known as FP7, or the Seventh Framework Programme. It's the type of research money that has helped for example develop the GSM mobile phone technology that now is in use globally.