Our open and global Internet has become an essential platform for innovation, economic opportunities and social development, e.g. it improves our lives in areas such as education and health. The Internet has also become a platform for freedom of expression, democratisation, and civil society empowerment across Europe and the world. The European Union (EU) should play an important role at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan in October. We urge the EU leadership to take advantage of the informal Council meeting on October 2-3 to agree on a joint European position building on previous EU statements and reflecting the recommendations of civil society and industry in Europe.
We the undersigned, representing civil society and the business community in Europe, present the following recommendations to the EU’s political leadership in preparation for the upcoming ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan:
1. The EU should continue to promote the full, equal, and meaningful participation of all stakeholders in information society discussions in line with the EU’s IGF 2014 Statement and the European Commission’s 2014 Communication. We urge the ITU to become inclusive, more transparent, and more open in its processes towards all stakeholders at the Plenipotentiary Conference and in the future.
2. The EU must fight to maintain the global and open Internet and reject any ideas of state-controlled internets, as stated in the EU’s IGF 2014 Statement. The Internet’s ability to empower all stakeholders is a direct result of today’s successful governance model.
3. The EU should oppose any proposals which restrict human rights in the digital age, including freedom of expression, media freedom, access to information, and privacy rights. “Fundamental freedoms and human rights are not negotiable and must be protected online” as stated in the EU’s IGF 2014 Statement and Internet intermediaries need protection as per the NETmundial Statement.
4. The EU should recognize and support the important role of the ITU in the areas of spectrum management and broadband development. We should commend the ITU for its efforts to bring the next billion people online.
5. The EU should support efforts that would contribute to the development of the information society for the benefit of all across the world, and in the EU in particular.
6. The EU should support the current mandate of the ITU and oppose any proposals to extend the scope to areas such as the routing of Internet-based traffic, content-related issues.
7. The EU should be the cornerstone of a global coalition of like-minded governments which believe in an open Internet, human rights, and governance inclusive to all stakeholders.