The Council of Ministers has told the European Parliament last night that it wants Amendment 138 dropped and its own text incorporated. And it wants an apology!
The first trialogue meeting of the Third Reading of the Telecoms Package was held last night. This was a meeting of the negotiating teams for the Conciliation process, from all three EU institutions - Parliament, Council and Commission. From what I understand, the Council has said that
it wants Amendment 138 removed, and it is insisting on its own so-called "compromise" text to be included. The "compromise" text was put forward in the Second Reading as Article 1.3a to the Framework directive (Trautmann report). It is not clear whether or not the Council has stated its reasons for opposing Amendment 138, which seeks to protect the rights of Internet users. My understanding of the Council's position is that the European Parliament has insulted it by diverging from an agreed text, and it wants an apology.
If true, this is unbelievable. The Parliament is supposed to scrutinise the legislation, and is entitled to differ from the Council. That is the purpose of the process. The European Parliament has no reason to apologise to the Council for acting on behalf of its citizens.
If this "compromise" is included, it will seal in to the Telecoms Package the rights of operators to block Internet services and applications - such as Deutsche Telekom blocking skype r BT throttling peer-to-peer. And it will enshrine the right of governments to impose measures which order the broadband providers to implement these blocks - for example, the UK proposals to give Lord Mandelson the power to order blocking of Internet users for copyright enforcement purposes, or the German governments draconian censorship for 'protection of minors'.
The positioning of it in Article 1 of the Framework directive, means that member states have to legislate for it.
The positioning of Amendment 138 in Article 8, establishes it as a policy principle which must be protected by national regulators. There is an argument that the Article 1 position is stronger - if so, then the principles enshirned in Amendment 138 could be also included in Article 1.
However, the real issue is about those policy principles. What should be the policy principles on which we base the Internet in Europe? A system of closed, controlled networks run purely for private benefit, following the AT&T proposals? Or a system of public communications networks, run for the public benefit, as has been the principle of EU communications policy to date?
And we do need to know exactly why our national governments oppose an Amendment which protects the right to freedom of expression.
applying the principle that no restriction may be imposed on the
fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users, without a prior ruling by the
judicial authorities, notably in accordance with Article 11 of the Charter of
Fundamental Rights of the European Union on freedom of expression and
information, save when public security is threatened in which case the ruling
may be subsequent
Council common position - amending act Fake 138, not carried , for reference
Article 1 - point 1 a (new)
Article 1 - paragraph 3 a (new)
Council common position Amendment
1a) the following paragraph shall be
inserted in Article 1:
"3a. Measures taken regarding end-users'
access to or use of services and
applications through electronic
communications networks shall respect
the fundamental rights and freedoms of
natural persons, including in relation to
privacy, freedom of expression and access
to information and the right to a judgment
by an independent and impartial tribunal
established by law and acting in respect of
due process in accordance with Article 6
of the European Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and
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), EU maintains attack on Internet rights http://www.iptegrity.com30 September 2009