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European Union/Internet governance

Published on October 8, 2014
Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Economy, Industry and the Digital Sector
Paris, October 3, 2014

At the informal meeting of [EU] telecommunications ministers held in Milan on 3 October 2014, Axelle Lemaire, Minister of State for the Digital Sector, recalled the urgent need for the European Union to take a strong position on the reform of Internet governance, which is entering a crucial phase in its development, with a high-level meeting in December 2015 having been announced by the United Nations General Assembly.

Europe must quickly make concrete proposals to improve Internet governance in accordance with the principles already endorsed by the international community at the NETmundial summit: multi-stakeholder, open, genuinely inclusive, transparent governance which respects fundamental rights and the role of governments.

The case of the plan to allocate the extensions .vin and .wine – still suspended – and other cases like .spa have shown the limits of ICANN’s system and current operation. France has been very active in making challenges; it is just as active in making proposals. The process embarked on by the United States to transfer the management of IANA functions to the international technical community is a positive development. But this initiative is insufficient, and changes in Internet governance cannot be conducted solely by ICANN.
It is therefore necessary to continue the momentum initiated with NETmundial, through a more open process that must be completed at the anniversary review of the World Summit on the Information Society.
The informal meeting in Milan provided an opportunity to note the determination of all the member states to speak with one voice in this debate. France would like the Italian presidency of the Council of the European Union to be an opportunity to make concrete and ambitious proposals to put forward on behalf of all the European countries. In the coming weeks, it will help make clear proposals on reform of the governance of IANA functions, on ICANN’s operation and on Internet governance.

For Axelle Lemaire, “Europe, a democratic continent concerned to protect the general interest, must be the leader of a new Internet governance that is more balanced, effective and transparent, in order to face up to the future challenges of protecting an open network.”./.

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