European Commission to unveil Communication on the future of multilateral internet governance


On 12 February 2014, the European Commission will present a communication on multilateral internet governance. The Head of Cabinet of the Digital Agenda, Constantijn van Oranje-Nassau announced this on behalf of Vice-President Kroes. This Communication forms the input on behalf of the European Commission in the running up to the forum on the future of internet governance, held in Brazil on 23-24 April 2014.

The discussions with the Member States and the European Parliament have been tough. This is largely a result of the stalled negotiations in the Council on the reforms on the Data Protection Regulation. Within the Council, the UK and Germany are head-to-head on the content of the proposal, with the UK stating that the proposed rules are too strict and Germany stating that the rules are too lenient.

Questions that will be addressed at the forum in Brazil are related to who will govern the internet, how to assure that there is a global level playing field and how national security agencies should behave in cyberspace.

“I have fought especially hard for an open internet. As a network of networks, not one person or country owns the internet, but we do need a clear set of rules that everybody needs to play by” stated Vice-President Kroes in her blog when she launched a consultation on the matter last October.

Ecommerce Europe advocates a European level playing field. A same set of rules benefits the industry and enables business – especially SMEs – to foster. A global level playing field is better and Ecommerce Europe calls upon European leaders to adopt rules with the global e-commerce market in mind. Strict rules on privacy and security are paramount for consumer trust. Too strict rules that go beyond serving this purpose forms a threat to the industry and, as a result, could jeopardise Europe’s competitiveness in a global perspective.