Testing "words"...

Today the members of the Industry committee of the European Parliament voted their opinion on the completion of the digital singel market. For details see the draft here  and the tabled amendments here. This opinion will be taken into account by the Internal Market committee members, that will produce the final report on the subject.

The final report of the European Parliament will not be binding, which means that the content should not be implemented within the EU society, it is rather a short text that "reminds" to the other EU institutions (the Commission, the Council) and the national Member States what the European Parliament think on the topic and would like to be considered in future EU law. So basically, its only words, but words that can be used to justify and negotiate the orientation of future binding EU law :-)!

Globally, we are slightly satisfied with the amendments that were voted today, the compromises between the different political groups, where Amelia negotiated in the name of the Greens on this file, reached noticeable wordings on the need to increase trust of EU citizens on the internet: "[the European Parliament ] Recognises the need to create ways of enhancing citizens‘ trust and confidence in the online environment and to guarantee protection of personal data and privacy, freedom of expression and information including the removal of geographical, technical and organisational barriers in redress mechanisms;"

We also got positive affirmation on the need for ambitious European internet infrastructures , including the deployment of fibre. These  "words" are good to have with us in the coming negotiations of the future EU internet infrastructures.  The need to harmonise exceptions and limitations in copyright was also stated, which is encouraging.  Even if we don't see yet the light at the end of the tunnel, at least, we go forward.

We also reached a controversial compromise on net neutrality:

on the positive side,  the industry committee wants the Parliament to ask the European Commission to consider measures to ensure net neutality, and Amelia made sure to remind that anticompetitive behaviour, blockage of innovation, restriction on freedom of expression, lack of consumer awareness and infringement of privacy are against net neutrality and hurts society as a whole.

on the less positive side  :-) , first, there is a  stated confusion between the principle of net neutrality and technical, telecom-like characteristics that could, maybe, be useful to implement this principle: "quality of service", "transparency of traffic management and ease of swithching ".  Put these words alone, like the opinion does, without context explanation, and they become useless to ensure that, like the European body of telecom regulators wrote in 2010,  "all electronic communication passing through a network is treated equally",  [...] independent of content, application, service, device, sender address and receiver address".  

Second, the European Parliament should have asked the European Commission for proposing regulatory measures to ensure net neutrality. Despite that the opinion refers to the risk of content blocking and to the concerns expressed by the same organisation more recently on operators that increasingly restrict access to their users on non technical ground , the text omits to recognise the need for voting binding texts to protect net neutrality. There is a difference between law that should be respected ("regulatory measures") and simple "measures" that can be taken in, for exemple, "guidelines" or "recommandation" or by me when I wake up in the morning.  We really want the European Commisison to move... its...But despite harsh negotiations on this very particular point , a monolit majority that consisted of the conservative EPP, the liberals of ALDE and the soverenists of ECR emerged on the very last moment, to finally avoid the word "regulatory measures".

Let's see now how the Internal Market committee will consider the content of this opinion and how the final text of the European Parliament would look like ... "Battles and voting on words"... Welcome to the political work.




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