Net Neutrality's Fate in Europe in the Hands of a Few MEPs?

Paris, 16 December 2013 — A few days before the deadline for Members of the European Parliament to table amendments on the anti-Net neutrality Kroes' proposal, within the ITRE committee, La Quadrature du Net sent them out its own proposal of amendments. From now and until December 17th, citizens must contact their representatives and urge them to alter Neelie Kroes' proposal and ensure that European citizens can definitely benefit from a genuine and unconditional Net neutrality.

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Last Monday, Pilar del Castillo Vera (EPP - Spain), rapporteur for the proposal of the Commission on the European Single Market for electronic communications, introduced her draft report before the members of the “Industry” (ITRE) committee. Until December 17th, Members of the European Parliament will be in capacity to table amendments and could concretely defend the freedoms of the European citizens and protect their electronic communications. Supposed to give the main orientations on the issue, the draft of the rapporteur will be ostensibly the basis for discussions within the ITRE committee and, consequently, within the whole EU Parliament, once the report will be voted in plenary sitting.

Since del Castillo's report proposes the very same heavily criticized1 anti-Net neutrality provisions contained in Neelie Kroes' proposal, the contribution of every single Member of the European Parliament by the end-date of December 17th, is increasingly necessary and strongly recommended. By now, the future of Net Neutrality in the European Union largely depends on the vote of the ITRE committee and the amendments its members will adopt next year, on February 27th: good amendments2 can lead to an EU-wide meaningful protection of Net neutrality. On the contrary, adopting industry-oriented amendments, will basically destroy this essential principle and deeply undermine altogether freedom of communication on the Internet, privacy, but also competition and innovation in digital economy.

Some MEPs appear to have heard the numerous criticisms expressed against Kroes' loopholes, as Catherine Trautmann (S&D - France) or Marietje Schaake (ALDE - Netherlands). Since they publicly announced3 their opposition to Kroes' proposal, they have the ethical obligation to prevent the adoption of its most dangerous provisions.

Until December 17th, citizens must act and urge their MEPs to table positive amendments, and to not just follow the insufficient suggestions made by the rapporteur. In particular, they must better specify the nature and the characteristics of specialised services and provide enforcement mechanisms so as to achieve a meaningful protection of Net neutrality, as suggested by La Quadrature du Net's proposal of amendments.

“Neelie Kroes and Del Castillo Vera's current proposals could jeopardize for decades the essential principle of Net neutrality. But if we can convince MEPs to table and adopt positive amendments fixing the main loopholes of the draft regulation, this could lead to a substantial progress of our freedom online as well as innovation in digital economy environment. For all those reasons, citizens must act now and urge MEPs to ensure a real and unconditional Net neutrality!” concluded Miriam Artino, in charge of legal and political analysis for La Quadrature du Net.

Act now!

As a citizen platform, La Quadrature du Net provides the PiPhone, a web tool allowing to call Members of the ITRE Committee free of charge:

Act now!

  • 1. As an example, the European Data Protection Supervisor stated in a press release published on November 15th that the Neelie Kroes' proposal devoids “of substance" the Net neutrality principle "because of the almost unlimited right of providers to manage Internet traffic”. Citizen organisations also widely criticized the proposal.
  • 2. Protecting the electronic communication of the European citizens means to guarantee a very solid Net neutrality principle. To that purpose it is highly necessary to clearly define what is a specialised services; provide enforcement mechanisms and strictly frame what is a reasonable traffic management practices.
  • 3. At the annual conference of the European Competitive Telecommunication Association, which took place in Brussels on December 3rd, Catherine Trautmann said she wants to improve the definition of specialised services and obligate the Internet access providers to develop their activities within their networks. Marietje Schaake also strongly criticized Kroes' proposal.
    Sources: [fr] -