Last week, the European Parliament finalised its second compromise proposal on net neutrality, and sent it to the Member States (represented in the Council of the European Union) and the European Commission. This will now allow the Council and Commission to put pressure on the Parliament to accept a final compromise this week.
The new proposal is another major concession from the Parliament. It contains only the absolute minimum elements for net neutrality, while proposing incoherent, meaningless text on blocking of allegedly illegal content, and dangerous suggestions on “parental controls” (filtering of legal content).
The new compromise represents another surrender from the European Parliament, which continues to offer concessions to the Council, which continues to offer absolutely nothing in return. Everything appears to be building to the “end game”, where telecoms providers will be allowed to launch a new abuse (the end of net neutrality) in return for the end of an old abuse (mobile roaming charges).
So, what is the “score” in the negotiations so far?
What has the Parliament given up?
- All of the proposed measures on radio spectrum;
- The definition of (or even a reference to!) ‘net neutrality’, replacing it with a non-defined “open internet”, as the Council had suggested. Adding adjectives like “open” suggests there is a “non-open” Internet, which makes little sense outside countries like Iran;
- The definition of specialised services;
- Virtually all of the proposed measures on user rights;
- Its proposal for the removal of irrelevant elements (like spam – unsolicited e-mails- or parental controls), which renders the scope of the Regulation unclear;
- Its proposal to remove unclear text on blocking.
Ultimately, the Parliament has given up all of this in return for virtually nothing apart from minor concessions on roaming. Worse still, the Parliament has no strategy for the next round of negotiations – is this just another step towards giving up completely or is this is the final red line from the Parliament? We don’t know. We fear that they don’t know.
What has the Council given up?
Almost nothing, as all the Council’s proposals were virtually identical. Modifications made in the most recent texts went even further away the Parliament’s position and even worse than the Council’s initial position of 4 March 2015 in certain points.
What to do now?
Visit the SaveTheInternet.eu campaign site. Through SaveTheInternet.eu, anyone can contact her/his representative in the Industry committee of the European Parliament (ITRE) via phone, e-mail or social-media for free!