Act now! The future of EU Internet may be sealed tonight.

Posted on


Brussels, September 28th – The first conciliation meeting on the Telecoms Package will take place tonight at 7:30PM. In this meeting, 27 Members of the European Parliament will decide on the future of Internet in Europe. They will choose whether to fix or maintain the dreadful anti-Net neutrality dispositions voted in second reading by the Parliament, under the influence of AT&T. Rapporteurs and representatives of the Swedish Presidency opposed this idea so far. European citizens only have a few hours to urge MEPs to preserve Europe’s innovation, competition, and citizen’s fundamental rights.

The Conciliation Committee delegation of the European Parliament on the Telecoms Package will gather 27 Members of the European Parliament delegation, on Monday, September 28th, at 7:30PM. During this procedure, the whole European regulatory framework of the Internet will be negotiated. In the first meeting, members of the committe will decide on the crucial perimeter of the negotiations. From this decision will depend the fate of Net neutrality in Europe.

Updated on Mon Sept 28th, 11:15 CEST : the meeting is at 7:30PM, not 9:30PM, and is formation meeting for the European Parliament delegation of the conciliation committe, with the 27 MEPs.

So far, the rapporteur Catherine Trautmann and the minister in charge for the Swedish Presidency Åsa Torstensson expressed their will to deal only with the “amendment 138”, which the Council wants to get rid of1Amendment 138 states that restrictions to fundamental rights and freedoms such as access to the Internet must be subject to a prior ruling by the judicial authority. This was confirmed by a decision of the highest French jurisdiction, the Consitutional council, on the “three strikes” policy. The Council added that “In the current state of the means of communication and given the generalized development of public online communication services and the importance of the latter for the participation in democracy and the expression of ideas and opinions, this right implies freedom to access such services.”. This would mean that the dreadful provisions allowing operators to kill Net neutrality in order to get control of the Internet2Located in Articles 20.1.b and 21.3.b of the Universal Service Directive, it allows for “conditions limiting access to and/or use of services and applications”.. These provisions allowing for limiting access to Internet services and applications, voted in second reading under influence by AT&T3http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/technology/08iht-neutral.1.20669185.html?_r=1, would then become law in Europe.

“Trautmann and Torstensson are trying to make everyone believe that Net neutrality should be dealt separately, after the Telecoms Package, but this is just a bad excuse. They know that Net neutrality is already in the Telecoms Package, because AT&T amendments allows operators to kill it to take control of the Net. They must admit it and do what is best for Europe’s competitiveness and citizens’s fundamental rights, at any cost. Internet is much more important for the future of our societies than the efficiency of the EU legislative process.” explains Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.

Citizens from all Member States have a few hours left to call all the Members of the European Parliament delegation in the conciliation committee4A specific campagne page has been setup, with general advice, resources, arguments and counter-arguments: http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Call_conciliation_MEPs_sept28. They can find arguments in the letter sent to them by La Quadrature5http://www.laquadrature.net/files/LaQuadratureduNet-20090928-Letter_to_the_conciliation_committee_MEPs.pdf along with the Open letter6Open letter “We must save Net neutrality!” with full list of signatories: http://www.laquadrature.net/en/we-must-protect-net-neutrality-in-europe-open-letter-to-the-european-parliament signed by more than 70 NGOs across 15 Member States (including ISOC, CCC, Reporters without Borders, and major consumers unions) , in a 2-pager memo and in a complete 22-pages dossier about Net neutrality.

“Conciliation must leave room for a clear legislative statement affirming that the fundamental principles of a non-discriminatory Internet have higher status than the short-term convenience of specific interest business models. It is very important that citizens who love the Internet act together now. We need to use this unique opportunity to help European lawmakers avoid making an irremediable mistake. “ concludes Zimmermann.

References   [ + ]

1. Amendment 138 states that restrictions to fundamental rights and freedoms such as access to the Internet must be subject to a prior ruling by the judicial authority. This was confirmed by a decision of the highest French jurisdiction, the Consitutional council, on the “three strikes” policy. The Council added that “In the current state of the means of communication and given the generalized development of public online communication services and the importance of the latter for the participation in democracy and the expression of ideas and opinions, this right implies freedom to access such services.”
2. Located in Articles 20.1.b and 21.3.b of the Universal Service Directive, it allows for “conditions limiting access to and/or use of services and applications”.
3. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/technology/08iht-neutral.1.20669185.html?_r=1
4. A specific campagne page has been setup, with general advice, resources, arguments and counter-arguments: http://www.laquadrature.net/wiki/Call_conciliation_MEPs_sept28
5. http://www.laquadrature.net/files/LaQuadratureduNet-20090928-Letter_to_the_conciliation_committee_MEPs.pdf
6. Open letter “We must save Net neutrality!” with full list of signatories: http://www.laquadrature.net/en/we-must-protect-net-neutrality-in-europe-open-letter-to-the-european-parliament