EU Parliament Calls For Action Against Net Access Restrictions

Paris, December 11th, 2012 — Today, the EU Parliament adopted two important resolutions underlining its commitment to protecting and promoting rights and freedoms on the Internet, especially on the issue of Net neutrality. La Quadrature du Net welcomes this vote by EU lawmakers, and urges the EU Commission as well as Member States to follow suit by enacting legislation to protect freedoms online and foster democracy as well as innovation.

A large majority of the EU Parliament adopted1 a resolution on a “Digital Freedom Strategy in EU Foreign Policy”. Following the rejection of ACTA, the Parliament calls on a new approach to copyright policy, especially in the context of trade agreements, to stop the spiral of repression that has been the hallmark of the EU in the past years. It also rightly urges for a stricter regime to control the export of censorship and surveillance technologies to oppressive regimes. It reiterates its criticisms regarding the increasing capture of global Internet governance by governments (especially relevant as the latter are meeting in Dubai around the WCIT12).

Finally — and that is probably the strongest aspect of the text — the Parliament once again calls for a EU Net neutrality regulation to safeguard the decentralised architecture of the Internet and protect user's freedom to communicate on the network. Another resolution on “Completing the Digital Single Market”, also adopted2 today, similarly “calls on the Commission to propose legislation to ensure net neutrality” and urges the EU Commission to end its failed “wait-and-see” approach.

“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's 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.

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  • 1. 630 for, 2 against, 13 abstentions
  • 2. 604 for, 45 against, 15 abstentions