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While Western Europe benefits from many of its residents accessing the Internet
© iStockPhoto / Internet Society

Regional Context

With an incredibly diverse range of cultures, governments and economies the European region faces a strong divide on issues concerning Internet governance, infrastructure, research, and investment.

While Western Europe benefits from many of its residents accessing the Internet via broadband, it is still facing strong divide on critical policy issues.

Eastern Europe is, on the other hand, still fundamentally behind the rest of the region in terms of basic access and broadband.

In 2010, the European Commission unveiled its Digital Agenda, which outlines a plan for digital growth and strength across Europe.

The Agenda outlines seven priority areas for action:

  • Creating a digital Single Market with greater interoperability;
  • Boosting Internet trust and security;
  • Much faster Internet access;
  • More investment in research and development;
  • Enhancing digital literacy skills and inclusion and;
  • Applying information and communications technologies to address challenges facing society like climate change and the ageing population.

This is the first of seven flagship initiatives under the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

In late 2011, the European Commission announced its proposal to invest nearly €10bn (£6.36bn) to boost the deployment of high-speed broadband and other electronic services in the region and an additional €50 billion in infrastructure.

As a result, the Commission is proposing a new funding plan to speed up long-term investments in roads, railways, energy grids, pipelines and high-speed broadband networks.

Yet this is still only part of the solution.

Additional work and investments still need to be focused on tackling rising cybercrime, privacy issues, governance, and to help ensure the networks that make up the Internet can work together  (otherwise known as “interoperability”).

Smart, sustainable and interconnected transport, energy and digital networks are priorities for Europe’s economic future.

How We Work

The European Bureau acts as an advisor to other Internet Society departments on issues affecting our work. It also provides critical insight on local business, technology and policy issues to the Internet Society and its stakeholders.

The Bureau also works with Chapters to grow individual memberships, support their initiatives and help them advance in their support of the Internet Society's mission and values. This includes the focus on building trust and providing transparent guidance for Chapters and helping each chapter develop strong projects.

We Focus On:

Policy - The Bureau provides targeted outreach to key policy makers in the region to educate them about the Internet Society's mission and to position the Internet Society as a technical resource for policy makers to address issues that confront the future of the Internet. Through our proximity to local policy, regulatory, and technology issues, we will engage with the European Internet community to implement the Internet Society's mission and message.

Strategic Guidance and Leadership - In addition to working with the technical community to provide opportunities and developments in public fora, the bureau is also a technical resource for policy makers who need to address issues that could affect the future of the Internet.

Build Partnerships - The bureau aims to strengthen and broaden relationships with key stakeholders at European and national levels.

Participation - The bureau also works with key European decision makers to promote a realistic model of the Internet based on the values of openness and transparency.

Europe Blog

  • Members from 22 European Internet Society Chapters in 20 countries gathered in Madrid on April 14, 2016 to discuss current public policy issues that affect the Internet. The meeting attendees were welcomed by Frédéric Donck, the Director of Internet Society’s European Bureau, who emphasized the importance of Chapters working together to address these issues. The countries represented in the meeting were Armenia, Finland, France, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and UK, so...

    Date published 12 May 2016

  • The Russian Internet Forum (RIF), organised by the Russian Association of Electronic Communications (RAEC) with support of other Russian Internet organisations, took place on the outskirts of Moscow on 13-15 April. This annual event gathers more than 7,000 IT professionals and other Internet enthusiasts to debate the hottest tech trends in Russia and to network with their peers.

    This year, the Internet Society (ISOC) joined forces with RAEC to widen the discussion on the role of standards in an increasingly interconnected world. The Internet of...

    Date published 20 April 2016

  • This year’s Russian Internet Governance Forum (RIGF) that took place on 7 April in Moscow offered something old, something new, and well, something borrowed.

    The high-level messages from the Russian government representatives made it clear that the Internet is a strategic platform for the country’s economic and social development. The representative of the Ministry of Telecommunications and Mass Media quoted impressive numbers reflecting the increasing importance of the Internet to the Russian economy. In 2015, the size of the Internet economy increased from 750 million RUR to 1...

    Date published 15 April 2016

  • The 2nd Central Asia Internet Symposium organised by the European Regional Bureau of the Internet Society took place on 2 March in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The discussion was focused on how to increase the Internet penetration in Tajikistan from the current level of just under 20% [1].

    A lively, at times heated debate continued between the speakers and the audience throughout the day addressing the opportunities and challenges related to connectivity and access:

    Getting Connected

    Given that Tajikistan is a land-locked country, international connectivity is key to...

    Date published 13 March 2016

  • Access to an open and inclusive Internet has been widely discussed in the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) over the last few months. The Internet Society’s Regional Bureaus work hard to put the good work and messages stemming from these global forums into practice in our respective regions.

    Last week, the Internet Society’s European Regional Bureau (ERB) together with our local partners reached another milestone in our ongoing engagement in the Kyrgyz Republic. We launched our first report in Central Asia...

    Date published 01 December 2015