Neelie KROES

Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda

The Internet needs better governance, starting now

Opening remarks, NETMundial

Sao Paulo, Brazil, 23 April 2014

To add your comment to this speech, see the social version of the speech here

This could be an historic gathering.

So ask yourself: are we here to make a change, and live up to the call made by President Rousseff in New York, or are we here to waste time?

The Internet is more disruptive than the printing press, electrification and industrialisation combined.

The Internet is the quickest, biggest revolution in history.

The Internet is now a global, common, public resource and its governance must be truly global, transparent and accountable.

That means we all have to change. No existing organisation or nation is exempt.

This puts a huge responsibility on us in this room.

This week we must move forward.

If we simply do more talking, use more nice words, we will have wasted the opportunity and failed the global community.

What should we do?

First: we can only create positive change based on what we agree on, not what divides us.

Let’s admit our recent work has produced a large degree of consensus. We can get excited about a word here or there, but let us not lose sight of the bigger picture.

In most cases we want the same things. We agree on:

(1) An improved multi-stakeholder model: transparent, accountable democracy, based on human rights; and a roadmap to get there;

(2) A process for the transition of the IANA functions involving all the stakeholder community;

(3) Strengthening the Internet Governance Forum;

(4) Capacity building through information sharing and Internet observatories;

(5) We must address jurisdictional issues on the Internet with transparent systems.

In summary: we agree on more than we disagree on.

While I do not want to trivialise the challenges, I believe we can meet them.


We need to decide where we want to be, by the end of 2014.

During these next two days I will be breathing down everybody's neck until we have a discussion on concrete actions.

So two days of dialogue please, not a string of monologues.

This is what open and democratic debate should be: we listen, we discuss, and then we reach real decisions.

I'm looking forward to that.

Thank you.

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The Geneva Internet Platform is an initiative of the Swiss authorities


Members of the Steering Committee are FDFA, OFCOM and the Canton of Geneva

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