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					                                                                          IP/05/672

                                                              Brussels, 6 June 2005




Commission outlines EU negotiation principles for
the World Summit on the Information Society in
Tunis

Preparations for the second World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
in Tunis (16-18 November 2005) have entered a crucial phase. This summit
should reach an international consensus on two key unresolved issues from
the first phase: Internet governance and financial mechanisms for bridging
the digital divide between developed and developing countries. The
European Commission has now adopted a communication outlining the EU’s
priorities for the Tunis meeting. To promote an Information Society for all,
respectful of human rights and of freedom of expression and cultural and
linguistic diversity, the EU wishes to preserve and strengthen the sound
foundations laid during the first summit in Geneva.

Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding stated: “The Internet is
arguably the most powerful tool we possess for safeguarding freedom of expression
and other human rights. This makes international co-operation in managing Internet
resources, and arrangements for funding this co-operation, a vital concern for policy
makers and Internet users worldwide.” The first phase of WSIS has created global
momentum for active policies to develop the Information Society, to be reinforced
and complemented during the Tunis Summit in November. The new Commission
communication, to be put to EU Telecommunications Ministers on 27 June, sets out
an EU line for remaining negotiations in the run-up to the Tunis meeting in
November.

EU principles for second WSIS phase

- To achieve results in the areas discussed in the WSIS first phase, it is important
  not to re-open the debate on questions that have been settled, but to focus on
  implementing agreed principles. The EU would like to build on progress made in
  emerging economies by backing wider access to the Internet with
  comprehensive strategies for developing the Information Society, including the
  development of creative content and applications.

- With respect to financial mechanisms to bridge the digital divide in developing
  countries, the EU welcomes the voluntary Digital Solidarity Fund created in
  Geneva in March 2005. However, the EU believes that a more holistic approach
  is required to mobilise human, financial and technological resources for a better
  integration of ICTs into development policies.
- As regards Internet governance, the question of internationalising the
  management of the Internet’s core resources, namely, the domain name
  system, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and the root server system, is currently
  being discussed. The EU believes that a new cooperation model is needed to
  give effect to WSIS wording on the crucial role of stakeholders within Internet
  governance, including governments, the private sector, civil society and
  international organisations.
- To ensure the proper implementation of the Geneva Plan of Action and the
  political follow-up of the WSIS, the EU should insist that this mechanism be
  simple and efficient, making full use of existing UN organisations and
  government agencies, and ensuring full participation of the civil society and the
  private sector.


Further information:
WSIS is a formal UN Summit at the level of heads of State and Government. The
EU is represented at the WSIS by the EU Presidency and the European
Commission, with Members of the European Parliament included in the EU
delegation. The process is divided into two phases (Geneva, 10-12 Dec. 2003;
Tunis, 16-18 Nov. 2005):
http://europa.eu.int/information_society/activities/internationalrel/global_issues/wsis/index_en.htm
http://www.itu.int/wsis




Martin SELMAYR:               02.298.12.30
Mona Lund:                    02.299.90.20




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