European Parliament today approved a draft report urging EU authorities and national governments to do more to attack the Year 2000 (Y2K) bug.
The report by UK Tyne and Wear EuroMP Alan Donnelly, says the EU must create and support awareness campaigns. He also wants to encourage information exchange among organisations responsible for crucial infrastructure sectors, such as telecomms and transport.
He said: "My main area of concern is to provide adequate Y2K protection for some 18 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs). I'm very concerned about preparation in public utilities like gas and electricity sectors."
"We need to identify a Y2K procedure in the EU, and decide on collective action. Some member states are progressing too slowly and there is a lack of cross border cooperation in some sectors," he said.
Martin Bangemann, European commissioner for the information society and telecomms, said that Donnelly's report highlighted where Commission responsibilities should lie.
"The Commission has contributed to raising awareness about the Y2K problem. It has worked with SMEs, and included member states and international organisations," said Bangemann.
He continued: "The Commission has tried to pass on tasks to those who have the best resources."
Bangemann said SMEs have a large problem, because of a lack of manpower and financial resources and said the Commission would endeavour to include more companies and organisations in funding measures.
"The role of the Commission should be to keep Y2K issues in the public domain, and put pressure on national governments," continued said Donnelly.
He believes the Commission needs to clarify to what extent European directives concerning liability for defective services, product safety and liability can be invoked by consumers in the case of Y2K problems.
Bangemann said that existing legal provision with added information would help subcontractors deal with Y2K problems.
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