EU Parliament Massively Commits to Net Neutrality and Open Internet

Paris, November 17th, 2011 – The European Parliament today massively adopted its resolution on Net neutrality, calling on the EU Commission to protect the open Internet, which is put at risk by an increasing number of restrictions imposed by telecoms operators. This overall positive resolution urges EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes to depart from her failed wait-and-see approach by rapidly assessing the need for further regulation to keep the Internet open and free. This votes represent a political commitment by the European Parliament to protecting the Internet from any form of restriction or censorship.

The EU Parliament's adoption of a resolution on Net neutrality1 by a massive majority comes at a timely moment, as the EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes keeps denying2 the illegitimate restrictions to Internet access imposed by operators that are reported all over Europe, as evidenced by the citizen platform RespectMyNet.

This vote is also a signal sent to BEREC – the body of EU telecoms regulators, which is expected to soon release its anticipated study on Net neutrality violations3 – as the Members of the EU Parliament point to the dangers of access restrictions for freedom of communication, as well as competition and innovation in the digital economy.

Even though the resolution contains loopholes4, it is a strong political statement in favour of an open Internet. In particular, the Parliament requires the Commission to swiftly assess the need for further regulation to protect Net neutrality, as soon as BEREC concludes its fact-finding exercise5.

“EU telecoms operators already violate Net neutrality in large numbers6 by illegitimately restricting Internet access. If Commissioner Neelie Kroes is really committed to defending freedom of expression, as she has claimed in the past, she must act accordingly by imposing Net neutrality by law, as was done in the Netherlands. Today's massive vote by EU Parliament certainly increases the pressure on the Commission to effectively guarantee competition and innovation as well as citizens' freedom of expression and privacy online. As the EU Parliament commits to defending the Net's openness, it should now act by further pushing for an effective regulation and rejecting any attempt at imposing Internet access restrictions or censorship in the name of an obsolete copyright regime, such as ACTA.”, said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson of citizen advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.