Vote on Net neutrality in the European Parliament

By EDRi · November 2, 2011

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Deutsch: [Abstimmung zur Netzneutralität im Europäischen Parlament |]

The industry committee (ITRE) of the European Parliament unanimously adopted
the resolution on the open Internet and net neutrality on 20 October 2011.
All compromise amendments as well as amendments 7, 8, 45, 46, 47, 56, 57
(from the full amendment list, below) have been adopted.

Overall, the result is far better than initially expected and underlines the
importance of the principle of net neutrality as crucial for innovation,
competition, freedom of expression and the value of the open Internet for

In its position paper, EDRi pointed out the dangerous use of terms like
“lawful content” or the “promotion of intellectual property rights” by ISPs
as initially proposed, ironically, by the Internal Market and Consumer
Protection Committee. As highlighted in EDRi’s position paper, in a society
based on the rule of law, only a judge should be able to decide what is
legal or not – so the European Parliament clearly should not be asking or
demanding that Internet intermediaries make decisions on what citizens may
or may not access online. During negotiations on the compromise amendments
between the shadow rapporteurs, these references have been successfully
deleted. Only amendment 7 (Recital D a) still mentions “lawful content,” but
this is only with regard to restrictions on net neutrality in third

There was support across the political spectrum for the demand that the
BEREC (EU regulators body) investigate whether “further regulatory measures”
are needed, within six months after the publication of its report on net
neutrality. This is a slight improvement to the Commission’s “wait and see”

Some paragraphs however are still not providing sufficient safeguards to
prevent dangerous experimentation with the nature of the Internet in the EU.
Paragraph 7, for instance still permits that operators engage in
discriminatory traffic management practices in cases of “congestion”
allowing them to use this as an excuse to sell priority plans and,
potentially, create an incentive not to invest in networks.

The resolution will be put to a vote during a plenary session in November.
No further amendments are possible, but political groups may still propose
alternative texts to be put to the vote.

Compromise amendments

Full amendment list

EDRi position paper (7.10.2011)

First draft of the Resolution

(Contribution by Joe McNamee – EDRi)