European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda
".eu" : securing Europe's identity on the Internet
European Parliament, Brussels, 2 June 2010
Members of the European Parliament,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here tonight to reflect on a real success story – the ".eu" Domain name.
With more than 3.2 million registrations to date ".eu" shows there is a real appetite for a European identity on the web. And that we need to continue developing it – even more so, perhaps, at a time of economic recovery - as a success story of our European project.
For many businesses and NGOs throughout the European Union, the ".eu" domain name is indeed becoming a natural marketing choice when it comes to creating and updating corporate identities. Unicredit, Unilever, Carrefour, Versace, Zazou and Milka are only a few examples of successful businesses which have chosen to base their internet presence on a ".eu" name.
For European individuals too, ".eu" provides an opportunity to express their European identity. I am proud that EURid has already incorporated Internationalised Domain Names (IDN) under the ".eu" level. It is indeed crucial that Europeans be able to create and access websites named in their own alphabet - i.e. not only in Latin script. This is obviously of most interest to users of Greek and Cyrillic script, but it also includes for example the use in German of the Umlaut. You would be surprised to see how much people – here and indeed on every continent - feel alienated by not being able to use all features of their language and culture on the internet. It is therefore highly symbolic that we make this sign of openness available also at the ".eu" level itself. And I will raise this point with ICANN when I meet them later this month.
So ".eu" must reflect our identity, including our cultural and linguistic diversity. Yet to be attractive, it must equally be a safe and secure domain name.
By security, I mean two things: the security of the Internet's own integrity, in particular the key component of the Domain Name System (DNS)and also the security of those who use the Internet.
Private sector stakeholders and public administrations have a joint obligation to fight against spam, identity theft, phishing and other evolving types of crime on the Internet. This approach has to go hand-in-hand with ensuring the Internet itself is not vulnerable to any large scale failure, whether as a result of an accident or a deliberate attack.
I know the Commission and EURid regularly review best practices in this field to ensure the maximum security and stability of the ".eu" domain name. And whilst of course, I would like to encourage you to become one of the safest domain names – this is indeed a competitive advantage – as European Commissioner, it is also my duty to ensure that all European users are made safe online - everywhere, anytime.
We have got used to an Internet which is remarkably resilient to such failure but we should not make the mistake of taking such reliability for granted.
With the new telecoms regulatory framework, the obligations of telecoms companies and Internet Service Providers regarding integrity of networks and services and privacy have been clearly defined in case of privacy or security breaches; and the tasks and the powers of public authorities have also been clarified and enhanced.
You can count on the Commission to support Member States and the stakeholders to put this framework into practice effectively and efficiently. The EU has a role to play in ensuring cross-border cooperation on these issues – both within the EU and at international level.
Many of these issues will be discussed in the forthcoming ICANN meeting in Brussels and at the Vilnius meeting of the Internet Governance Forum – to which I welcome the participation of MEPs. As to the first ICANN meeting in Brussels, and with EURid as hosts, this will be a good opportunity for us to see ICANN's policy making and review processes at first hand.
Finally, let me conclude by thanking Malcolm Harbour in particular and all MEPs for your ongoing support in these matters. What EURid is doing for the success of the ".eu" domain name is a concrete example of the type of actions that Europe needs to embrace the digital era. The Digital Agenda for Europe, which has just been issued by the Commission, presents all our ambitions for that field. I am confident that, together with you, we will continue to deliver concrete results.