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Dear ICANN delegates,

It is a pleasure to welcome you in Rome for the first ICANN meeting ever held in Italy. ICANN has always provided a great platform for discussions of issues on Internet related matters. In the current economic climate, the importance of these issues is greater than it has ever been.

We are at a crossroads of the European and world economy. The Internet age is here and it is here to stay. It has already changed society and businesses alike.

The European Union has recognised the importance of the use of the net since the Lisbon Summit in March 2000, giving a precise message: "Europe must become the most competitive and dynamic economy in the world.". The European Commission e-Europe initiative goal is to bring every home, every school, every business and every administration on-line. eGovernment is now a central theme within information society policy at all levels: local, regional, national and even globally. eGovernment is a tool, not a goal in itself. It should help to deliver better government. The public sector, as an information-intensive sector, can be made more efficient by digitising information and processes.

Since many years, Rome Local Council, member of Telecities, the major European network of towns committed to leadership in the Information and Knowledge Society, has set up a website for its citizens and the tourists in order to make them closer to the administration of this incomparable city.

Given the scope of the challenge to complete the transition to the digital age, it is therefore imperative that all the interested parties work together, citizens, businesses and governments, technology providers and users, researchers in industry and in academia to make the best out of the technology at hand and shape its future progress.

I am confident that during Rome meetings all the necessary steps will be taken to improve and implement the Internet governance infrastructure. Wishing you the best success of ICANN Rome 2004.

Walter Veltroni
Mayor of Rome

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