Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

International Organisations and Fora

The European Commission actively engages with a number of international organisations and fora, where issues pertaining to the domain of Internet governance and telecommunications are being discussed on a global level. The two are linked but at the same time have clearly distinct political and technical dimensions.
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World Summit on Information Society (WSIS)

The first World Summit on Information Society took place on Tunis in 2005 and set a common vision of societies in which information and knowledge play critical roles in enabling the development of countries, societies and individuals, including those marginalized and the most vulnerable. The European Commission attaches great importance to its conclusions (the "Tunis Agenda for the Information Society"), which as of today remain the only truly global political agreement in this area.

In 2015, the implementation of WSIS outcomes will be reviewed by the UN General Assembly. The European Commission is closely following this process (WSIS+10) which will assess the progress made, look at on-going and future ICT trends and build a vision for new knowledge societies.

Internet governance forum (IGF)

The IGF has emerged from the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) as an annual multi-stakeholder, non-decisional forum to facilitate discussions on Internet issues. The Commission supports the IGF since its inception, as this is one of the actions of the Digital Agenda for Europe. The IGF has now become an important element in the Internet ecosystem, bringing together an extensive range of participants, providing a unique opportunity to have frank and open discussions among players with very different ideas. The European Commission strives to see this unique platform be further strengthened and improved.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU)

ITU activities are organised into 3 areas, dealing with radio-communications, telecommunications standardisation, and development issues.  The Commission ensures that international rules are in line with EU legislation and policy and that the EU plays a leading role in reaching out to developing countries. Various regional groupings of ITU members help prepare the work undertaken at global ITU events such as the World Telecommunications Development Conference (WTDC). The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) is the forum for such coordination for Europe; the Commission acts as in an advisory capacity.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

ICANN is responsible for the coordination of the global Internet's systems of unique identifiers and, in particular, ensuring its stable and secure operation. The European Commission is a full member of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of ICANN. The GAC's key role is to provide advise ICANN on issues of public policy, particularly should there be an interaction between ICANN's activities and national laws or international agreements.

The Commission is also designated as the responsible authority for the country code Top Level Domain name '.eu'. The registry for this domain name is Eurid.

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)

The IETF is not a traditional standards organisation, although many specifications that it produces become standards. It is a loosely self-organised group, made up of volunteers, contributing to the engineering and evolution of Internet technologies. The very atypical form of organisation and functioning of IETF may represent a challenge for Administrations to work and cooperate with it in the same way they do with traditional standard making bodies. IETF standards are adopted by rough consensus and not through a formal procedure like the traditional standard making bodies and they are not intended to be mandatory. This light, non-bureaucratic and open approach has resulted in the IETF becoming the de facto forum for making standards for the Internet.

There is a clear link between IETF's work and public policy aspects and therefore the European Commission is following-up IETF work. The IETF chairman was invited to the High Level Group in Internet Governance (HLIG). The IETF was also invited to the Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Standardisation. The first objective for the European Commission was to gain a deeper understanding of IETF work. This has required a significant investment in time and capacity building. Our intention is to engage further with the IETF, notably on Internet hardening and the internationalisation of the IANA function, where IETF's role is instrumental.


The Commission participates OECD "within" the Committee for Information, Computer and Communications Policy (ICCP) and the Working Party on Communication Infrastructures and Services (CISP). DG CONNECT coordinates the preparations for the meetings of the working parties and the ICCP Committee and finalises internally the EU positions. OECD brings together countries committed to democracy and market economy to support sustainable economic growth, boost employment, raise living standards, maintain financial stability, assist other countries eonomic development and contributes to growth in world trade. OECD provides a setting where governments compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordindate domestic and international policy. European Commission representatives work alongside Members in the preparation of texts and in dicussions on the OECD work programme and strategies and are involved in the work of the entire organisation and its different bodies.

Council of Europe

The European Union and the Council of Europe have a long tradition of co-operation. In May 2007, the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding brought a new drive to this relation. The Council of Europe and the European Union base their relationship on all matters of common interest, in particular the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, political and legal cooperation, social cohesion, and cultural interchange.

We regularly participate the Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) of the CoE,  where the focus increasingly shifts from media to broader information society issues, including internet governance.

Last updated on 08/09/2014