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Endeavours to build European Computers, 1965-1974: An Opportunity to develop an EC Industrial Policy

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The informatics sector was the first for wich the EEC Commission tried, in the late 1960s, to develop a common industrial policy. It would aim at creating and supporting European champions in a key sector, where Europe’s competitive position was failing. The first proposals for a common approach were initiated inside the EEC in 1967, and transferred to the intergovernmental COST framework in 1970. Only a few of the projects were finally realised, the most important -the development of a European supercomputer- was abandoned. In 1973, the Commission proposed a Community programme to support a consortium of European computer producers, Unidata, which was to become the first component of a European champion. The EC Council adopted the programme, but it was quickly cancelled by the collapse of Unidata. The lack of progress towards a common policy appears fundamentally due to the Member States’ reluctance to relinquish control of the sector.

Published in:

IEEE Annals of the History of Computing  (Volume:PP ,  Issue: 99 )