The European Union has unveiled its plan of action to respond to Web 3.0 technology.

The European Telecommunications Commissioner Viviane Reding launched a consultation on the next generation of the internet, what she sees as its essential elements and calling on Europe to lead the way to get there.

"Web 3.0 means seamless 'anytime, anywhere' business, entertainment and social networking over fast reliable and secure networks. It means the end of the divide between mobile and fixed lines. It signals a tenfold quantum leap in the scale of the digital universe by 2015," she said.

The plan highlighted the trends leading to Web 3.0, which the EU thinks includes the boom in social networking, the shift to online business services, nomadic services based on Global Positioning System (GPS) and mobile TV and the growth of smart tags using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).

It concluded that Europe's focus on open and pro-competitive telecom networks and its emphasis on online privacy and security make it "well placed to exploit these trends".

Reding also won glowing praise for her vision of the internet 3.0 from Vint Cerf, one of the creators of the web and now Google's vice president and chief internet evangelist.

Cerf said in a blog that he shares Reding's vision, with its focus on free and open networks and the need for open standards. However, instead of seeing Europe in the driving seat of change, he said the continent is well positioned to keep up with other parts of the world.

"For Europe to keep up in the global online race, it needs to sprint ahead powered by an openness recipe encompassing a neutral network, users rights, and open standards. I'm delighted that Europe's policymakers stress the successful ingredients to promoting a robust, healthy internet," he said.