At the Internet Governance Forum, European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and Members of the European Parliament: Michał Boni, Cristian-Silviu Buşoi, Eva Kaili, Tiemo Wölken, Jan Philipp Albrecht, Marisa Matias, Barbara Kappel have signed a common Declaration.

Round table discussion at the Internet Governance forum

The internet is a common good for humanity that can drive improvements in society and the economy. Building and maintaining an open, transparent and inclusive system of Internet governance will help to ensure these benefits for all. The increased participation of civil society at this IGF meeting is warmly welcomed and should be further encouraged.

We have been discussing key aspects of internet governance during the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) this week, such as cybersecurity, privacy, inclusiveness and trust. On net neutrality, the Commission and European Parliament reaffirmed that this is a core value for the European Union, and one that we will continue to implement for the good of all Internet users.

In Geneva we have argued strongly for:

  • An open and independent internet as a global, common resource, together with non-discriminatory access to knowledge;
  • The necessity to develop digital skills and competences;
  • The protection of fundamental freedoms and human rights both online and offline, including the right of users to control their personal data.
  • Increased privacy and security of devices and software; there is no place for cryptographic “backdoors” in a secure and trustworthy Internet;
  • The need to find solutions related to cybersecurity and cybercrimes, ranging from: (i) solutions to improve the security of critical infrastructures; (ii) giving the appropriate tools for secure communication to individuals and small businesses;
  • he need for human accountability for decisions that are the results of algorithms;
  • The need to work with partners in other regions to maximise the development potential of the Internet, increasing its access to population and reducing inequality.

In light of the ongoing work on the Digital Single Market strategy in Europe, which underlines the importance of the digital economy and of internet access for citizens and companies, we restate our belief that a sustainable and inclusive governance of the Internet is fundamental to ensuring this strategy is successful and it is essential to the world as a whole.

Necessary steps to ensure global access to open and inclusive internet:

We are currently witnessing the emergence of a number of forces that could lead to the fragmentation and polarization of the internet. The European Union is strongly committed to the openness of the Internet globally and will work, along with all the other stakeholders, to ensure the long-term sustainability of this principle. The internet of the future will be inclusive, transparent, and trustworthy.

An essential element in achieving this is the multistakeholder approach to Internet governance, which the European Union strongly supports and which must be strengthened if we are to face up to the current challenges.

In order to achieve this goal, the European Union representatives are engaging in a constructive dialogue during the 12th meeting of the IGF with the stakeholders including ICANN, net neutrality advocates, and civil society organisations working to ensure the protection of digital rights, as well as industry and government leaders.

In Europe, the IGF has been a catalyst for the creation of regional and national IGFs. The pan-European Dialogue on internet governance (EuroDIG) has been providing active and positive input to the global IGF that contributes to raising the level of inclusivity in discussions and enriches the debate by bringing in European perspectives. EuroDIG is strongly supported by the European Commission and the European Parliament, where both will be present at next year's EuroDIG conference in June in Tbilisi.

The European Union believes that the IGF is a good instrument to discuss and shape the future of the internet. We call on the states to ensure that the IGF, as an important platform to exchange views and recent developments, will be hosted by a state on a yearly basis.