The European Union has outlined its vision of a better connected world, unveiling a new strategy designed to support innovation through investment.
Viviane Reding, EU commissioner for information society and media, said in a speech today that the internet has the power to make European systems smarter and more efficient across the board.
Reding suggested that the internet could lead to lower emissions, better healthcare, and less congested roads, for example, if the information it contains is harnessed correctly and efficiently.
The strategy is designed to boost European internet infrastructures, and Reding said that the EU will work with national governments and IT companies to build up a €300m (£268m) investment fund.
"The internet can help face the challenges of the future, and holds the key to lifting Europe's economy out of the crisis," said Reding.
"Online applications and technologies can improve transport in cities, which will soon house 70 per cent of the world's population. They can, and must, improve the systems that manage our energy, because electricity consumption will have doubled by 2030.
"And with an ageing EU population, the internet can make our healthcare systems more efficient and treat patients from afar. It is Europe and its businesses that should seize the opportunity and develop these technologies and applications which can tremendously increase the economic and social efficiency of day-to-day processes."
The European Commission (EC) has already invested €400m (£357m) in more than 90 European projects under its ICT research programme, and will invest another €200m (£179m) a year until at least 2013.
This latest announcement will contribute to the EC's plans to make Europe a leader in the research and rollout of future internet technologies needed to " smarten up" infrastructures, Reding said.
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