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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

  • On 7 April, the Russian Internet Governance Forum (RIGF) took place in the new city of Innopolis, near Kazan. My main takeaways from this 8th RIGF converge around three themes: digital economy, trust and the next generation of Internet aficionados. 

    Very much in line with the discussions between the G20 leaders in Germany last week, one of the key messages at RIGF was the importance of digital economy to Russia and its citizens. In his keynote address, Sergey Plugotarenko, Director of Russian Association for Electronic Communications (RAEC), emphasized the importance of the...

    Date published 13 April 2017

  • The European Union today faces some serious challenges including growing levels of populism and the threat of foreign intervention through cyber-attacks. Last year’s alleged Russian-led cyberattacks on US Democratic Party servers as well as Chinese government cyber espionage against other governments and companies have provided worrying precedents. Although it is hard to measure the actual impact these attacks had on the election results in the US, concerns are growing amongst European leaders that their electoral procedures are vulnerable to manipulation.

    With elections rapidly...

    Date published 07 March 2017

  • The digitalization of human activities, from social interactions to industrial processes, has led to unprecedented levels of data collection. New data is constantly being produced, driven by the rise of user-generated content, the digitalization of industries and services, and the improvement of both machine to machine communication and data storage. As recognized in the Commission’s Communication “Towards a data-driven economy”, this trend “holds enormous potential in various fields, ranging from health, food security, energy efficiency to intelligent transport systems and smart cities”....

    Date published 28 February 2017

  • The 7th edition of the Ukrainian Internet Governance Forum (UA-IGF) took place in Kiev on 14 October 2016. The event attracted some 150 participants despite the fact that October 14th is a public holiday in Ukraine.

    This year’s UA-IGF piloted a new interactive format with minimal slide shows, lively moderated discussions and an “open mic” for Q&A. This approach worked well with the Ukrainian community – we witnessed some juicy debates and questions from the audience were abundant. 

    So what did the Ukrainian community debate about? 

    Role of Governments in...

    Date published 19 October 2016

  • The second Georgian Internet Governance Forum (GEOIGF) took place in Tbilisi the first week of September. The two host organisations, the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) and the Internet Society Georgia Chapter, succeeded in bringing together a wide range of partners and supporters from government, private sector, technical community and civil society. 

    One of the liveliest discussions took place during the panel session on Internet access and the broadband gap. For the past couple of years, there has been a vibrant national debate about the level of Internet...

    Date published 23 September 2016