Answer given by Mr Breton
on behalf of the European Commission (26.7.2021)
The EU supports a single, open, neutral, free and secure internet, supporting innovation, privacy and user empowerment. The Commission is aware that some states follow national approaches that are incompatible with this vision, may adversely affect civil society regarding the protection of human and fundamental rights and cut the access of their citizens to the open internet. Such approaches also entail adverse effects on the development of global internet technologies and standards, having the inherent potential of fragmenting the internet.
The EU actively promotes its vision of the internet via the multi-stakeholder internet governance model, which discusses the evolution of the internet with a broad range of stakeholders. The recent EU Cybersecurity Strategy for the Digital Decade1 also aims to ensure this vision and addresses the risks to security and fundamental rights and freedoms of internet users. The EU works towards developing and promoting key internet protocols that support its vision, and would oppose any approach undermining it.
To advance a global and open cyberspace, the EU continues to engage at the multilateral level to promote a model grounded in the rule of law, human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic values that brings social and economic development globally. This is addressed in United Nations discussions on the framework on responsible state behaviour, by which states agreed to be guided in their use of information & communication technologies (ICTs), including for the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet. The EU regularly raises concerns during bilateral dialogues against online censorship and internet shutdowns.
1 The EU’s Cybersecurity Strategy for the Digital Decade, 16.12.2020 JOIN(2020) 18 final.