Paris, 23 January 2015 – On January 20th, La Quadrature du Net along with other European organisations co-signed an open letter [pdf] calling once more the EU’s Member States to adopt clear and strict rules to protect Net Neutrality. However, a negociation document shows that at the same moment, Member States were one towards the end of a free Internet. It is time for the European Parliament to get back to work on this issue and defend a real protection of Net Neutrality, against oligopolistic strategies of the large Internet actors backed by governments.
Just as civil society was calling the Council of the European Union to protect Net Neutrality, the latter was studying a negociation document showing it is about to allow unacceptable violations of this founding principle of the Internet, casting away once and for all the European Parliament’s vote of April 2014.
This vote in the Parliament had been a strong sign in favour of the rights of European citizens and their interests in Net neutrality. It suggested a balanced compromise based on a precise and strict definition of Net neutrality. The adopted dispositions also allowed operators to develop innovative access offers (“specialised services”) while maintaining the non-discrimination principle in order to simultaneously protect users’ freedom of choice, competition among access and applications providers and innovations newcomers may bring.
The short term interests of large telco operators and Internet giants must not dictate public policy. Today, in light of the national governments and European Commissioner Günther Oettinger’s maneuvers, it is time for the European Parliament elected in last May to take the matters in its own hands and prove it is determined to defend last spring’s positive development.
As an unprecedented citizen movement in favor of Net neutrality is taking place in the USA and Barack Obama recently called for a determined protection of this principle, Members of the European Parliament must play their part in the international debate and ensure Europe leads the way with a legislation that protects a Free Internet.
La Quadrature du Net calls on all Members of the European Parliament to urgently take part in the ongoing debate and reaffirm their attachment to last spring’s agreement, refusing Internet giants and large operators’ oligopolistic leanings as well as the Commission and the Member States guilty complicity.