The Closing of the Net  "original and valuable"  Times Higher Education

Is it a stitch-up or just following rules? Either way, the European Parliament tonight bulldozed through a decision on the team which will represent it in the Third Reading negotiations with the Council. And they have a mandate to ‘focus’ the discussion on Amendment 138 only. Which means that they do not want a debate on the Internet restrictions  that are elsewhere in the Package.

 

The outcome of the Telecoms Package will determine the kind of Internet that we will have in Europe. At a non-public meeting tonight, those  in charge of process in the  European Parliament have attempted to keep a tight hand of control on  the process. It can be anticipated that they plan to give in to the Council on Amendment 138.

 

Tonights meeting was the first 'constituent' meeting of the Conciliation committee for the Telecoms Package. Chaired by a vice-president, Alejo  Vidal Quadras, who has had no

involvement in the Telecoms Package to date, the committee blindly accepted the  positions put forward by the two rapporteurs, Catherine Trautmann and Malcolm Harbour. According to a report from inside the meeting,   Mrs Trautmann said that the Telecoms Package is not the place to solve net neutrality and put forward her suggestion of an alternative intitiative  - which, neither she, nor the European Parliament, has the power to implement.  Mr Harbour  suggested that "the Telecom Package is very good even according to the FCC guidelines" - a statement which many European citizens and lawyers would hotly dispute. The Telecoms Package will remove powers from European regulators to intervene on behalf of Internet start-ups in the way the FCC has done. 


Mr Vidal Quadras, Spain, EPP,  "concluded" that there was "agreement" to focus on Amendment 138, and not open up any other amendments.

 
The negotiating team will be Catherine Trautmann ( as rapporteur she has to be on it); Alejo  Vidal Quadras; and the chair of the ITRE committee which is responsible for the directive, Herbert Reul. They both have to be on it too. Mr Reul is German, from the newly-re-elected CDU party, which is pushing through an Internet censorship law and which has  a very strong interest i in pushing through the Telecoms Package on behalf of Deutsche Telekom.

 
The negotiating team has two EPP members and one PSE. Adina-Ioana Valean (ALDE, Romania) asked for the negotiating team to be opened up to other political groups. Neither Mrs Trautmann nor Mr Vidal Quadras wanted to open the negotiating team to other political groups on the grounds that it was "too risky". Risky for who? Or what? These are the questions that European citizens need to ask.

 
Philippe Lamberts (Belgium Green)  pointed out that in resolving Amendment 138, other articles may have to be included.

 
The negotiating team will meet tomorrow. The European Parliament's delegation will meet on 7 October.


It is interesting to note that the exclusion of other political groups also keeps  Malcolm Harbour off  the negotiating team. 

The Swedish Presidency is believed to be trying to push the Package through and remove Amendment 138. Remember my previous article about the Package being decided over dinner! Well, there  certainly will be attempts to decide it  well away from the public gaze.  Once again I get the feeling that MEPs are frightened of speaking up.  If the MEPs in this process cannot democratically represent the views of citizens, then it is a sad day for Europe.

 

Full list of Conciliation committee members is here

La Quadrature du Net campaign to  for net neutrality in the Telecoms Package is here  

 

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2009) Telecoms Package , the tight hand of control on Internet rights http://www.iptegrity.com 17 September  2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Copyright Enforcement Enigma tells the story of the 2009 Telecoms Package and how the copyright industries tried to hijack it.

'accurate and absorbing account of the story of the Telecoms Package' -Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology

'...a must read for those interested in knowing in depth about copyright enforcement and Internet.' -Journal of Intellectual Property Rights.  

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Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten, European expert on Internet policy and Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics & Political Science. She is an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee on Cross-border flow of Internet traffic and Internet freedom (MSI-INT). She was shortlisted for The Guardian Open Internet Poll 2012. Iptegrity  offers expert insights into Internet policy. Iptegrity has a core readership in the Brussels policy community, and has been cited in the media. Please acknowledge Iptegrity when you cite or link.  For more, see IP politics with integrity

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The Copyright Enforcement Enigma - Internet Politics and the ‘Telecoms Package’

by Monica Horten

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