IGF 2020 Second Open Consultations and MAG Meeting - European Commission



The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 


>>FULVIA MENIN:   Hello, MAG members.  This is Fulvia Menin from the European Commission, from DG CONNECT, Unit E3, dealing with Internet governance and multistakeholder relations.

 Please let me start by sending on behalf of the European Commission our best wishes to the MAG members and the IGF community during these particular challenging times.  We are very pleased to see that the preparatory works for the 15 IGF in Katowice are advancing very energetically and even more interesting sessions are taking shape.  This shown us how the IGF community is resilient, and we are very proud to be part of it.  

 The von der Leyen Commission have adopted a digital strategy on 19th February 2020, making digital policy one of the top priorities of the new political course.  

 In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, this strategy has gained particular importance, especially because the Commission have adopted a series of digital tools and action in the fight against COVID-19.  I would like to briefly mention a few of them.

 First, the European supercomputers that are fighting the coronavirus.  There are three powerful European supercomputing centers founded by the Commission which are currently used to research and develop vaccines, treatment, and diagnosis for the coronavirus.

 Second, as of April 8, the Commission have adopted a recommendation to support coronavirus containment measures through mobile data and apps.  The recommendation provides for a common European approach on mobile application, used for contact tracing, in full respects of European fundamental rights such as privacy and data protection.  Based on the recommendation, the EU has developed a toolbox for the use of mobile applications setting out essential requirements for these apps.

 Third, to prevent potential Internet congestion, the European Commission has been in touch with several CEO of streaming platform, telecom operators and users to take actions.  The Commission set out mechanisms to monitor Internet capacity situation and will work farther on this issue.

 Fourth, the Commission is working closely with national authorities on other EU and international institutions and law enforcement agencies to monitor for any sign of threats, to ensure an online safe environment during these particular challenging times.

 There are other COVID-19-related initiatives that have been taken by the Commission, and you can find more information on the link provided at the end of this video.

 In parallel to these ongoing actions, the Commission has also proposed a new recovery instrument called Next Generation EU within our revamped long-term EU budget.  In total, this plan will put 1.85 trillion of euros to help kick-start our economy and ensure that Europe bounces forward.  The proposed instrument focuses specifically on the green and digital transformation, and there is a particular focus on investing in more and better connectivity, a stronger industrial and technological presence, building a real data economy, and of course increasing cyber resilience.

 The COVID-19 crisis has shown once again how it is important to have in place effective Internet governance mechanisms that take into account all the perspectives and interests at stake.  To this end, the European Commission will continue to contribute actively to the follow-up of the U.N. High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation and to its future outcome, and engage intensively on a variety of fronts to support the development of a single, open, free, and unfragmented Internet, where the multistakeholder model lives up to its promises democratically and effectively.  Few things in this context are more important than the development of Internet standards in a bottom-up, multistakeholder fashion.

 While a number of existing international standard-setting bodies provide the right highly technical expertise to develop new standards, there is a need to broaden the discussion to help identify new needs and bring the voice of the civil society in standards setting, and of course to advance towards a better and faster implementation.

 The European Commission have been a proponent of the inclusion of an open standard settings discussion in the IGF for long time.  The IGF could and should finally take up this crucial responsibility.

 Finally, we have seen that during the global pandemic emergency how much digital transformation and digital tools can be valuable for our society.  It is, therefore, important in this context that we continue ensuring an inclusive, cooperative and multistakeholder approach to Internet governance.

 Thank you very much.