The Grid is the name given to the next generation of internet being developed at the European Centre for Particle Physics
The Grid proposes to move massive amounts of data between distibuted users in the form of petabytes, ie. a million gigabytes, through highly advanced fibre optic and wireless networks.
CERN is the body through which the HTTP protocol was invented by Tim Berners-Lee.
Each member state involved in CERN, through investing or research, will benefit greatly from The Grid, and member states who choose not to be a part of it will lose out greatly in the benefits it promises.
CERN member states are automatically allocated support for research and development of products for The Grid over non member states.
This could greatly affect economies of third world countries who cannot afford to participate.
At the time of writing, Ireland is the only western nation currently not a member of CERN. There is much debate within the government as to the benefits of CERN membership, and has sent ripples through the IT and scientific community here.