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Parliamentary questions
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22 February 2021
E-006877/2020(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Breton
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-006877/2020

The European Union supports a vision of the Internet as a single and un-fragmented, open, neutral, free, and secure network, supporting permission-less innovation, privacy and user empowerment, where human rights and fundamental freedom fully apply.

To that end, the EU and its Member States support an international multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance, which discusses the evolution of the Internet with the participation of industry, the technical community, civil society and governments. The EU works towards developing and promoting key Internet protocols that support this vision, and would oppose any approach that undermines it.

The ‘New Internet Protocol’ proposal, put forward in the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), asserts that the current Internet protocol is unsuitable for the development of new applications and calls for the development of a an alternative protocol stack.

The EU believes on the contrary that the current Internet Protocol-based architecture has demonstrated a high level of resilience, scalability and adaptability, showing its capacity to meet new requirements and use cases and the need for a radical departure has not been demonstrated. Further, the implementation of an alternative protocol stack, based on a top-down approach, might bring high risks of fragmentation and could harm the openness of the global Internet.

Hence, the Commission together with the Member States as well as other countries and stakeholders has opposed the New Internet Protocol proposal within the ITU.

In the absence of the necessary consensus, the proposed studies on New Internet Protocol will not continue within ITU for now. However, the EU remains vigilant and committed to the vision of a single, open and free Internet.

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