Brussels 27 November 2014
The Minister for Communications Alex White has welcomed today's (Thursday's) agreement on a common EU position in global negotiations on internet governance, focussing on the defence of internet freedoms and on the preservation of an open, neutral and unitary internet. The decision was reached at the EU Communications Council in Brussels, which the Minister was attending.
The decision is significant as it means the EU will speak with a single voice in a series of meetings that could determine future global conventions on internet governance. The meetings, which include those being convened by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (or ICANN), take place next year in Singapore, the Caribbean and Dublin, and lead up to a WSIS+10 (World Summit on the Information Society) event in December 2015 in New York. They are aimed at reforming the functions and accountability of the bodies that effectively set global internet governance standards –ICANN and the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA).
The EU Communications Council today adopted Council Conclusions on the future of internet governance, including a commitment that member states would speak with one voice and would defend continued rights to internet privacy and the maintenance of an open, free and unitary worldwide web.
Minister White said: "The internet has become central to our daily lives and we depend on it to exercise fundamental rights to seek, receive and impart all kinds of information and ideas. Internet governance arrangements must continue to protect the open, free and unitary nature of the internet. A single EU voice is important because these objectives are not universally shared in the global debate on internet governance. The reform of ICANN and IANA must occur in an orderly, secure and accountable fashion and today's European Council decision is a necessary and welcome step towards that goal."