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The European Parliament supports net neutrality

19 December, 2012

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Europäisches Parlament setzt sich Netzneutralität ein

On 11 December 2012, The European Parliament (EP) issued, in a large majority, two non-legislative resolutions asking that net neutrality should be enshrined in the European Union law.

In one of the resolutions, “Completing the Digital Single Market”, the EP "calls on the Commission to propose legislation to ensure net neutrality" and urges Commissioner Kroes to end her ill-fated "wait and see" approach.

The second resolution, “Digital Freedom Strategy in EU Foreign Policy”, stresses that the EP "strongly supports the principle of net neutrality, namely that Internet Service Providers do not block, discriminate against, impair or degrade, including through price, the ability of any person to use a service to access, use, send, post, receive or offer any content, application or service of their choice, irrespective of source or target" and "calls on the Commission and Council to promote and preserve high standards of digital freedom in the EU, in particular by codifying the principle of net neutrality".

“After a constructive dialogue with civil society, in particular in the course of the ACTA debate, the EU Parliament is adopting a more proactive approach to Internet freedoms, especially on the issue of Net neutrality. Today's vote is a blow to Commissioner Kroes, who has been playing into the hands of dominant telecom operators by refusing to enforce this fundamental principle. A EU-wide law on the matter is indeed urgent, as evidence is now clear that telecom operators across the EU apply widespread restrictions to users' Internet access. We must keep putting pressure on the Commission and Member States so that they finally take action to protect Net neutrality, and ensure that the Internet remains a platform for freedom, democracy and innovation”, said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for La Quadrature du Net.

The Parliament urges for a stricter regime to control the export of censorship and surveillance technologies to oppressive regimes and criticises the increasing capture of global Internet governance by governments.

After its resolution on net neutrality from November 2011, this is the second time that the European Parliament has asked the Commission to abandon its laissez-faire approach on this crucial policy area.

Research from the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) proves that operators interfere with traffic on their networks in socially harmful ways. They block, throttle and discriminate against applications, content and services that are competing with their own. The existing laws in many European Member States are inadequate to prevent such abuses of the open Internet.

"Users and innovators, not access providers, should continue to decide how they want to use the Internet if it is to continue to realise its potential as a barrier-free single market and as a unique platform for social and cultural activity and democratic discourse," said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of EDRi.

The European Parliament demands a net neutrality law (11.12.2012)

EU Parliament Calls For Action Against Net Access Restrictions (11.12.2012)

Motion for an EP Resolution on a Digital Freedom Strategy in EU Foreign Policy (15.12.2012)

Motion for an EP Resolution on completing the Digital Single Market (26.10.2012)



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