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European Digital Content on the Global Networks


The call for proposals for the preparatory actions on European Digital Content on the Global Networks ('eContent'), launched on 20th of April 2000, has now closed (deadline 7 July 2000).

The evaluation of the proposals is now well advanced, and the short-listed proposals will be invited to negotiations in mid-September 2000. It is expected that the main body of these projects will kick-off in the first quarter of 2001.


The rapid deployment of Internet, mobile and broadband networks and digital media technologies is changing the way companies do business, providing new opportunities but also giving rise to new challenges, especially for SMEs and start-ups. The ability to deliver digital content across languages and cultures in a timely and effective way is becoming a decisive competitive factor in all aspects of industry and trade. To operate successfully in Europe and globally, companies must be able to conduct their business in the language of their customers. Similar considerations hold for public administrations at all levels, including local authorities and public interest utilities, in their relations with increasingly cosmopolitan businesses and citizens, and with foreign administrations.

The new programme focuses on the market implementation of Europes content potential and not on the technological aspects of the Global Networks. Stimulation of the latter is covered by the Fifth Framework Programme for R&D (and in particular the Information Society Programme).


The aim of the preparatory actions is to explore the potential and to test the market response in three specific areas where market barriers prevent the full development of Europes content potential.

Given their preparatory nature, the actions established under this call are not expected to deliver readily useable or marketable products or services, but rather to (a) provide a solid justification and investigate the feasibility; (b) identify the most suitable implementation paths and partnerships; (c) assess the ultimate viability and cost effectiveness; and (d) ascertain the expected impact on business patterns of the different financing models available for Internet related start-up operations.

The action lines envisaged are the following:

  • Preparatory Action Line 1 - improving access to risk capital for Internet related SMEs and start-ups
  • Preparatory Action Line 2 - demonstrating exploitation of public sector information
  • Preparatory Action Line 3 - facilitating linguistic and cultural customisation of digital products and services

The full text of the Information Booklet [Word, 118KB] can be downloaded here.


Proposers can find the essential documentation below (in English, unless otherwise specified):

  • Call Text - Official Journal no. OJ C114/7 (24-04-2000) [EN, FR, DE]
  • Information Booklet [Word-EN (118KB)], [Word-FR(109KB)], [Word-DE(113KB)]
  • Guide for Proposers [Word (89KB)], [PDF (48KB)]
  • Proposal Submission Forms [Word (61KB)], [PDF (37KB)]
  • Model Contract (Excerpts) [Word (148KB)], [PDF (109KB)]

All the above documents, including other EU langauge versions, are also available from the CORDIS eContent web pages.

For an overview:

  • Powerpoint presentation [Powerpoint, 1.15MB]

[NOTE: This facility has now timed-out with the deadline of 7-Jul-00.]

If you have a good idea which conforms to the scope and objectives of the current HLT call, you may submit an optional pre-proposal directly to EC staff, for an informal consultation as to the eligibility and relevance of the proposal.

You should receive feedback from the EC within a maximum of 3 working days. The pre-proposal facility is operational from now until 16 June 2000.


The following Information Days have taken place:

  • 11 May 2000 - Brussels, Belgium - Meeting Presentation [Powerpoint, 1.15MB]
  • 22 May 2000 - Bologna, Italy -
  • 24 May 2000 - London, UK -
  • 25 May 2000 - Paris, France - Background information

Further information is available from the or from the EUROMAP National Focal Points in the EU Member States.

FUTURE - eContent 2001-2005

On 24 May 2000 the European Commission adopted the proposal for a "Multiannual Community programme to stimulate the development and use of European digital content on the global networks and to promote the linguistic diversity in the Information Society". The proposal is expected to be adopted by the Council towards the end of the year. A Press Release [PDF, EN, 17K] can be viewed here. [FR, 19K] [DE, 19K]

The proposal text and other information on future eContent activities is available from the Europa web pages.


A Frequently Asked Questions document answers some common queries regarding calls.

For more information about Human Language Technologies use the Feedback and Queries entry form or contact:

+ European Commission, INFSO/D4, Office EUFO 0-176, Rue Alcide de Gasperi,    
L-2920 Luxembourg
Fax: + Tel: +

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