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Intranet and Extranet for European Environment

Copenhagen May 15, 1997 Press Release

Intranet and Extranet for European Environment

European Environment Agency (EEA) launches an Intranet today that connects its National Focal Points in 15 EU member countries in a collaborative network. EIONET, which stands for European Environment Information and Observation Network, is used for moving data and information around in the process of monitoring the state and trends in environment.

The 2 million ECU network is funded by the European Commission’s "Interchange of Data between Administrations" Programme (IDA) that helps governments in building telematic networks across Europe, thus offering more efficient, transparent and responsive public services to the industry and citizens.

The technical set-up of EIONET has been done by Finsiel SpA., a major Italian information technology corporation, and European Dynamics, a Greek company specialised on Internet.

Expansion of the Intranet to three West-European EFTA countries and 11 Phare countries in Eastern Europe is being contracted out. The Agency also has eight Topic Centres that are being connected now. The entire Intranet will thus cover about 40 leading environmental institutions in almost all European countries.

The Agency also operates an Extranet that connects it with other public institutions, companies, and interest groups. The full EIONET covers hundreds of nodes.

Netscape SuiteSpot provides the basic functionality of the EIONET Intranet. Each node will boast a full range of Netscape servers. New services provided by SuiteSpot version 3 will be introduced gradually. According to Hannu Saarenmaa, IT Manager at EEA, "Netscape SuiteSpot was chosen because its cross-platform availability, open standards compliance, and modularity that allow adding new services as needed."

Services of the EIONET Intranet include email, document sharing, discussions, directories, and information locator services. The Intranet has been built as a virtual private network on top of public Internet links. Says Jef Maes, Programme Manager at EEA: "We chose Internet because it gives us biggest potential to expand to new partners and makes our Intranet and Extranet to function seamlessly."

Located in the heart of Copenhagen, the EEA is the environmental information reference centre of the European Union. Its mission is to monitor the state and trends of the environment in Europe and support the European Union and member countries in improving their environmental policy and its implementation. EEA also provides information for the public via its public web service. Says EEA Executive Director Domingo Jiménez-Beltrán: "Making accessible and exposing the best available environmental information is paramount: it will improve the decision making and the public participation process. It will certainly lead to a constructive pressure from the citizens to reduce the stress factors in the environment. It also helps to improve the quality of information itself."

For more information, contact Hannu Saarenmaa, email:hannu.saarenmaa@eea.europa.eu

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100