Shoring Up Europe's Defense In On Line Services

In late July, the European Commission voted to push ahead with a special program to spur development of more on-line information services, especially data bases, by European companies. The move seems aimed squarely at blunting plans by foreign information providers, mainly U. S. suppliers, to increase their domination of Europe's on-line services.

The drive kicked off in 1989, when the EC budgeted $42 million for a two-year study dubbed Impact, for Information Market Policy Actions. The findings convinced EC ministers that aggressive action is needed just to preserve Europe's share of its own information markets. Now, the EC wants to spend nearly $120 million over the next five years on Impact 2, helping to fund the creation of new on-line services. However, some member countries, including Germany, are calling for a smaller outlay, more in line with the original budget. So the full scope of Impact 2 remains uncertain.

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