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Final Evaluation Committee (FEC)
for the IMPACT 2 programme 1 - 4
Executive Summary

Chapter 1


Chapter 1: The IMPACT 2 programme: aims, objectives and evaluation

Introduction

On 12 December 1991 the Council of Ministers adopted a programme for the establishment of an internal Information Services Market, known as IMPACT 2. The programme covered a period of four years (1991 - 1995), and the amount estimated necessary for the execution of the programme was ECU64 million. The programme expired on 11 December 1995. In accordance with Article 6 of the Council Decision 91/691/EEC which stipulates that:

At mid-term and at the end of the programme, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament and the Council, once the Committee referred to in Article 4 has examined it, an evaluation report drawn up by independent experts on the results obtained in implementing the Action Lines referred to in Article 2 and may present, on the basis of these results, proposals for adjusting the orientation of the programme;

the Commission has thus appointed, in consultation with the IMPACT Programme Committee, a panel of high level experts to perform the final evaluation of the IMPACT 2 programme. The persons on that panel are given in Appendix 1. A mid-term review has been carried out in 1993 by a panel of independent high level experts, and a mid-term evaluation report has been transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council in June 1994. The Final Evaluation Committee has taken due note of the mid-term evaluation and has assessed the response by EC officials to the criticisms made in the mid-term evaluation. Overall the Final Evaluation Committee is satisfied that the criticisms made by the mid-term evaluation committee have been corrected.

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Aim of the evaluation

The main objective of the final evaluation has been to examine the performance of IMPACT 2 with reference to the formal programme objectives, focusing on a defined set of areas of programme implementation, and evaluating the various initiatives on the European Information Services Market.

IMPACT programme objectives

The Final Evaluation Committee understands the general IMPACT 2 programme objectives, which served as a framework for the specific investigation, to be as follows:

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Guidelines for the final evaluation

When adopting the IMPACT 2 programme in December 1991, the Council decided to reduce the budget from 100 MECUs initially proposed by the Commission to 64 MECUs, and the duration of the programme from five years to four years. The budget effectively allocated to the programme has been further reduced to 52 MECU. This has led the Commission to re-orientate the planned actions and to shift its role from actor to stimulator. This has meant putting more emphasis on cost-shared actions and actively involving Member States and market actors in the process.

The final evaluation report has set out to analyse how successfully the Commission has performed in its new role as a catalyst, providing platforms for discussion and cooperation and stimulating initiatives from the market actors. In particular, the following items have been evaluated:

A detailed list of IMPACT 2 actions to be considered for evaluation in this respect is provided in Appendix 2.

The final evaluation report has also examined the need for, and the scope of, possible new EU initiatives taking into account recent developments in relation to the Information Society.

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The evaluation panel

The evaluation has been carried out by a panel of five independent experts appointed by the Commission, in consultation with the IMPACT Programme Committee (IPC). The Final Evaluation Committee has been assisted in its work by officials of the EC and by the provision of an expert secretariat. The Final Evaluation Committee wishes to record its thanks to EC officials, IPC members, the President of the LAB, project coordinators, and a representative sample of NAPs for their cooperation in the final evaluation. At no time has the Final Evaluation Committee been impeded in any way in its investigation. Quite the contrary has been the experience. Even where criticism of the programme has been made, there has been consistent enthusiasm expressed by all consulted for the objectives and achievements of the IMPACT 2 programme.

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Methodology

In conducting the evaluation the Final Evaluation Committee has pursued the following activities for the purpose of IMPACT 2 programme examination:

An interim report was provided within ten weeks of the commencement of the work, and was discussed with the IPC. The draft final report was also produced and delivered within the prescribed timescale of four months after commencement and was delivered in draft form to the EC officials in November 1995. 

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