EU digital chief wants to end the net neutrality deadlock

European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Günther Hermann Oettinger, is set to meet with national ministers next Friday to try and end the deadlock between national ministers and MEPs on the subject of net neutrality.

Negotiations on the so-called Telco Package had ground to a halt on Tuesday night when national representatives from the Council and those from the European Parliament failed to compromise on net neutrality or roaming charges, The Register writes in a report.

“The law has been so mangled by various revisions that these two elements are all that’s really left of a raft of legislative proposals. With so many aspects chipped away, the Commission now plans to launch a separate policy initiative in 2016”, it says.

“Commissioner Oettinger and Latvian Minister Matiss have invited telecoms ministers for an informal breakfast on Friday to discuss the situation and to make further progress,” said Nathalie Vandystadt, spokeswoman for the Commission. “The European Commission continues supporting the most ambitious approach: we need to end roaming charges and get strong net neutrality rules as soon as possible. We should not disappoint Europeans, who are waiting for the end of roaming charges as soon as possible. They also want their access to the open internet to be ensured. This is why we need strong net neutrality rules.”

Civil liberties groups have congratulated MEPs for taking a firm stance on the net neutrality issue:

“MEPs have clearly affirmed that they will not accept the least common denominator proposed by EU member states on roaming and net neutrality. This is an important decision – and OFE congratulates the Parliament for its firm stance – but one that brings policy debates to a dangerous deadlock,” said Graham Taylor, CEO of OpenForum Europe.