Europe Needs a Fifth Freedom

Tuesday, June 2, 2009 | 12:05 PM

Labels: , ,

The 1957 Treaty of Rome established the four freedoms - the free movement of persons; the free movement of goods; the free movement of services; and the free movement of capital.

These initial four freedoms reflected the needs of the prevailing industrial economy and helped spur the creation of the 1992 single market project. Today, we are on the path to create a knowledge-based economy. Europe's heads of states acknowledged this shift in 2000 when they launched the Lisbon Agenda for growth and jobs. Now, it is time for the European Union to add a Fifth Freedom to meet the needs of the knowledge economy.

A c
onstructive and creative debate has opened about the meaning of the fifth freedom. In a speech given in April, 2007, Science & Research Commissioner Janez Poto─Źnik emphasised the importance of the European dimension to research. Later that year, the European Commission published a new strategic report, adding high speed Internet and innovation coordination. Last year Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding published a Communication on the Future of the Internet, which put openness at the heart of her future Fifth Freedom agenda.

For Google, Europe's Fifth Freedom should mean freedom of knowledge to enable collaboration and strengthen community, not only to drive jobs and growth but also, for example, to address climate change and to modernise our democracies.

We've been discussing our first thoughts on the Fifth Freedom with policy makers over the last few weeks. Their suggestions have helped us refine our analysis. Among the thin
gs we now suggest is testing new innovation mechanisms, like awards and public procurement, prioritising opening up and mapping information that can fuel innovation in Green ICTs and re-thinking the barriers to entrepreneurship - collaboratively - with entrepreneurs in the driver's seat.

Collaborative innovation should also be the cornerstone of public policy. Today, we are making our revised contribution - version 1.5 - available. We would be delighted to receive your comments, as we continue to develop this document over time.

This is not the last you will hear from us on the subject. We plan to blog about these issues over the coming months and will continue to discuss our vision.

Posted by Dr Nicklas Lundblad, European Policy Manager and Simon Hampton, Director of Public Policy



Basically, you're proposing the free movement of knowledge as the Europe's fifth freedom. Knowledge, or content or whatever you want to call it has become elevated from commodity to a form of capital.
The natural tendency of corporations and governments is to control and restrict knowledge, as they do anything of value. Even the American constitution's first amendment is under siege.
There is distinction between the free flow of ideas, and the flow of free ideas. I support the idea of free movement, especially keeping the cost of entry low.

- said...

First of all, sorry for my english, I'm from the south- west of europe, so my mother tongue is not english.
I have indeed readed the paper you post about the fifth freedom.
I agree in almost every point, but I feel that the key point in europe nowadays regardin internet is that is very constraint by national regulation. I think internet should be regulated by comunitarian laws, so that all citizens can have the same rights regarding it.
I think this blog is fantastic, I love to read the opinions of such an important company as google, I also follow the oficial google blog, and I really think that this one deserves more than those "376 readers" which feedburner says you have.