This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Letter to Commissioner Kroes concerning internet governance

Strasbourg 17 April, 2014 Dear Commissioner Kroes, The challenges to safeguarding the open internet are growing. Decisions and responsibilities are increasingly in the hands of a diverse group of governments, companies, organisations and internet users. At the same time, many states are trying to increase their control over the internet and the people who use it. There is a growing tension between the traditional territoriality of states and the global and borderless nature of the internet. This requires new and innovative approaches to protect the open internet and the rights and freedoms of its users. Governments, legal experts, politicians and other stakeholders are only at the beginning of the process of redefining their position in light of this tension. The European Union should be a leading voice for inclusiveness and globalization in internet governance. In this regard, we were pleased to receive the European Commission communication on Internet Policy and Governance in February, which sets out Europe’s role in shaping the future of internet governance. We share many of the ideas and analyses that lie at the heart of this document. However, there are a number of issues which could be expanded on to provide further clarity on what the course of the EU should be on this crucial issue, particularly in light of the NetMundial conference set to take place in Brazil later this month. First, we agree with the Commission that the multi-stakeholder model should be the basis for the future model of governance and the preservation of the open internet. The current form and existing platforms where internet governance is taking shape are not sufficient to create proper governance. Clear principles must be formulated to increase the transparency, accountability and inclusiveness of the model. We would like to know which actions the Commission envisions to establish such principles. Second, the current American-centred approach to internet governance is becoming unsustainable. We therefore welcome the announcement by the United States government to start a process to transition the current role played by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the coordination of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS). The Commission too has stated that it embraces globalization. We therefore ask the Commission to take an active role in facilitating this process. Globalization of the DNS root zone would be a step forward only if we ensure that new governance structures will be subjected to democratic and proper oversight. More clarity is needed on how this would work and what structures the Commission foresees to enable this. Finally, in Sao Paulo later this month, Commission representatives will be present to discuss the future of internet governance alongside Member State representatives and other EU stakeholders. Aside from the Commission communication released earlier this year, it is not clear what the goals of the Commission are at this conference and what the possible deliverables could be. Furthermore, what is the relationship between Commission and national officials travelling to this conference as well as other European stakeholders present? We ask of the Commission to outline the actions it will put forward to ensure the greatest coordination between the activities of these actors with an aim of safeguarding common European interests and leadership in the field of internet governance. We would welcome a debrief after the meeting. We thank you for the efforts and look forward to your clarifications and to our future cooperation. Sincerely, Marietje Schaake Amelia Andersdotter Eric Andrieu Sandrine Bélier Malika Benarab Attou Phil Bennion Françoise Castex Karima Delli Christian Engström Cornelia Ernst Hélène Flautre Fiona Hall Dennis de Jong Petra Kammerevert Tunne Kelam Véronique de Keyser Patrick Le Hyaric Corinne Lepage Sarah Ludford Jiri Mastalka Judith Merkies Martina Michels Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė Jan Mulder Phil Prendergast Michèle Rivasi Zuzana Roithova Helmut Scholz Francisco Sosa Wagner Marc Tarabella Nils Torvalds Catherine Trautmann Ramon Tremosa i Balcells Ivo Vajgl Sabine Verheyen Renate Weber Pawel Zalewski