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Parliamentary questions
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14 April 2011
P-002322/2011(ASW)
Answer given by Ms Kroes on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: P-002322/2011

The 2009 reform of the EU e-regulatory framework explicitly recognises(1) that the Internet is essential for the practical exercise of freedom of expression and access to information.The right to freedom of expression is enshrined in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and is reflected in the new Article 1(3a) of the framework Directive which states that measures taken by Member States regarding access to, or use of, services and applications shall respect the fundamental rights and freedoms.

If those measures are liable to restrict fundamental rights or freedoms, Article 1(3a) states that they may only be imposed if they are appropriate, proportionate and necessary within a democratic society, and their implementation shall be subject to adequate procedural safeguards including effective judicial protection and due process. However as Recital 7 recalls, this is without prejudice to the possiblity for each Member State to take the necessary measures to ensure the protection of its essential security interests [and] to safeguard public policy and public security.

The Commission is not planning to make a ‘kill switch’ possible at EU level and is not aware of Member States' plans allowing the Internet to be shut down.

The Commission considers the security, stability and resilience of the Internet and of other electronic communication technologies is a fundamental building block in democracy. It has announced(2) that it will develop tools to allow the EU, in appropriate cases, to assist civil society organisations or individuals to circumvent arbitrary disruptions of the Internet or of other communications technologies.

The Commission has no plans at this stage to modify the e-communication regulatory framework that was approved in 2009 and whose transposition is due by the end of May 2011. The other measures that the Commission is planning to reinforce trust and security online are described Digital Agenda for Europe(3).

(1)Recital 4 of Directive 2009/140/EC amending Directives 2002/21/EC on a common regulatory framework for Electronic communications networks and services, 2002/19/EC on access to, and interconnection of, Electronic Communications Networks and associated facilities, and 2002/20/EC on the authorisation of Electronic Communications Networks and services, OJ L 337, 18.12.2009, p. 37.
(2)COM(2011)200 final of 8 March 2011, A Partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean.
(3)COM(2010)245 of 19 May 2011.

OJ C 294 E, 06/10/2011
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