The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, today called, in a strategic document, for more transparency and multilateral accountability in the governance of the internet. There are today 1.5 billion internet users worldwide, 300 million of which are in the European Union's 27 Member States. At present, a private US-based body, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ( ICANN ), is responsible for coordinating key elements of the internet. The Commission agrees that private companies should continue to take the lead in the day-to-day management of the operation of the internet, as long as they are accountable and independent. The Commission also believes that decisions about the internet, especially those about openness and security, should be taken in a transparent and accountable manner because they affect everyone around the globe. ICANN currently operates under a Joint Project Agreement with the US Department of Commerce which expires on 30 September 2009. In the view of the European Commission, future internet governance arrangements should reflect the key role that the global network has come to play for all countries.