European Ministers Form Internet Talk Shop

European Parliament members have created an independent
forum for discussing European internet issues and bringing
them to the public’s attention.

Over 50 MEPs will officially inaugurate the European Internet
Foundation (EIF). The Foundation said it will provide wider
access to EU policy formation and would try to build a wider
participation in online policy debates through its Web site.

However, the EIF will not take positions on specific issues
and doesn’t have the power to push through policies.

Priority issues which members have already highlighted
include ensuring privacy and security of personal online
communications. Recognizing consumer rights and
protections, eliminating barriers to international shopping and
e-commerce and Internet governance are other key areas.

“There was a strongly felt need to create a platform for
thought on important EU issues. The EIF will offer a way of
communication. and we hope and expect everyone to raise
concerns and issues which are important to them,” said a
spokesman for the EIF.

The EIF will work closely with other networks and institutions
including the US Congressional Internet Caucus, which
discusses internet related policy issues in the US. The
Transatlantic Policy Network will provide a link between the
US and the European Union over e-policy debates.

Katherine Reed at Euro ISPA, the European ISP association,
said, “We welcome any initiative that encourages and
engages discussion and principles for internet objectives.”

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