Will the Italian Presidency of the EU Council Support Net Neutrality?

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Paris, 9 May 2014 — The voice of the Italian presidency of the Council of the European Union could mark a real departure from the usual government talk chastising the vote on Net Neutrality adopted by the European Parliament! According to the information portal Euractiv, the Italian presidency could support the text voted by the Members of the European Parliament and be ready to defend it in front of the European governments and telecommunications industry. As the publication of the guidance report of the Council of the European Union about the Net Neutrality (scheduled for 5 or 6 of June) nears, La Quadrature du Net welcomes this encouraging position and asks European citizens to invite their governments to follow this example.

On May 2, European information portal Euractiv reported on the position of the Italian presidency of the Council of European Union on the Telecom Package reform voted by the European Parliament on the 3rd of April. While the dominant telco players and several governments, including France [fr], have declared themselves opposed to this text, which runs the risk of being seriously reworked in a way likely to harm Net neutrality by the Council of the European Union, this position stands in contrast and is a positive sign.

Marco Peronaci, assistant permanent representative of Italy to the European Union said during a conference organized by ETNO: “We understand the concerns of the industry but we still think that it deserves a serious look”. A diplomatic source cited by Euractiv argued that Italy, which will take the Presidency of the European Union for 6 months on the 1st of July, wants to defend the text as it was adopted by the European Parliament. While some governments seems to be surrendering to the telecom lobbies’ pressure to reintroduce to the text measures allowing commercial discriminations and going back on the progress voted by the MEPs, citizens must support those who take a stand in favour of the European Parliament’s vote and of Net Neutrality.

“The stand Italy has taken is interesting and encouraging. It shows that Net Neutrality as a social issue is more and more taken into account, including at a high level. The French government, including Mrs. Lemaire who is in charge of digital matters, must follow Italy’s lead and clarify the position France will defend during the next legislative steps. Without delay, European citizens must call on their governments to act and carry the European Parliament’s citizen voice and that of those who defend Net Neutrality”, declared Adrienne Charmet-Alix, campaign coordinator for La Quadrature du Net.