Welcoming address

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This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.

>> EMILY TAYLOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to start so please take your seat. Thank you. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to EuroDIG 2016. Goodness. We are going to hear from our hosts and then we are going to go straight into an open mic session which will involve all of you giving us your thoughts. But first of all, let's hear from our three hosts. And first of all I'd like to welcome Megan Richards who is a principal advisor at DG CONNECT at the European commission. Welcome, Megan, come to the stage. Before joining the European Commission in 1991 Megan held a variety of roles including the United Nations develop programme in Africa.

>> MEGAN RICHARDS: Thank you. Emily. It's a great pleasure to be here. Welcome all of to you Brussels. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to be in the centre of Europe. I look forward to awful you having fruitful dialogue discussions with everyone. Make sure your voices are heard to the policy makers, and that all the policy makers are heard by you as well. This is a great opportunity to have a really useful exchange. So it's also the first EuroDIG that will feed into the new revised mandate of the Internet IGF. How do we call the IGF now? We are so used to acronyms in this society we have forgotten what they all stand for. But the new ten year mandate of the IGF has just been established last year and this is a real opportunity for EuroDIG to feed into the new revived, revamped IGF process. So I hope that the results and outcome of this EuroDIG will be particularly useful and contribute to that. The other thing that of course we talk about in these contexts is the bottom up multi stake holder process. Also called a bump. A bump in some parts of English speaking countries is often what is referred to as a pregnancy so if you have a bump you're going to have a baby. To a certain extent EuroDIG is going to be not producing the baby but perhaps one of the midwifes of the baby we are expecting in the next hours days, shortly. And that is the observations and the assessment by NTIA by the department of commerce which have been developed in this bottom up multistakeholder process. We are standing by waiting for this baby to arrive and see whether it's twins or a big baby or small baby. I think we have to encourage the development. In this case we need a digital solution and by that I mean not 50 shades of gray, we need typically digital on, off, zero, one, yes, no, something that will give a good sign as to how far this process can go. It's something that Europe has been calling for, for many, many years. We have council conclusions from almost exactly a year ago which say any unjustified delay in the process would have possibly negative implications. And I think the message is still very adept today and very appropriate. So I don't want to dwell on that one aspect. It's only one of the many, many issues you're going to discuss and address today. We are going to discuss human rights, innovation, and various other topics. We have a very useful and bottom up programme, it's been developed by the stakeholders. I encourage you all to engage actively, participate, speak up, listen as well, also very important in this process and enjoy yourselves. And many thanks to EURid to making this a wonderful occasion and bringing us all together. Thank you.


>> EMILY TAYLOR: Thank you, very much. Next I'd like to welcome to the stage the general manager of EURid, Marc van Wesemael. Marc was the founding general manager of EURid and before that spent ten years as the general manager of DNS dot BD. Thank you, Marc.

>> MARC VAN WESEMAEL: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, honorable guests, I'm delighted to welcome you today to the EuroDIG meeting in Brussels on behalf of EURid. We are very proud to host EuroDIG in cooperation with European Commission with our ultimate employer. Over the years EURid has greatly contributed to the global Internet governance landscape, also by pro-actively participating in the IGF meetings with workshops aimed to discuss and promote online multilingualism. And we are extremely pleased to have been partnering with UNESCO; this year will become an online portal, a repository of data and knowledge about the fascinating area of the domain business. My reference to online multilingualism is not by chance. Access to all is one of the main objectives of Internet governance and language is an extremely important element thereof. At present there are 24 official European Union languages. Thanks to the European Union all of the mother tongue languages are on the same level. No language barriers, no language discrimination. We are all linguistically European. Technically speaking the 24 European languages or EU languages are based on three linguistic scripts, and therefore it came natural for EURid to start the process of And yes, it took us quite some years to complete the process because due to some pointless restrictions and unclear processes, and a lot of bureaucracy at a level of ICANN but we made it and we launched it a few days ago a few months after the celebration of the tenth celebration of the dot EU launch. It is more than a simple meeting. It's a process that involves many actors in multiple countries. It is a process that should remain open, bottom up, accessible, and affordable to anybody. A process also where important questions are asked and solutions are discussed. These are challenging times. Following recent events in Brussels and Paris fundamental questions are being asked which might threaten the free and open access of the Internet as we know it. Online security, privacy, transparency, surveillance, regulation, and accountability are all topics that require our full attention. There are no simple solutions. Take, for instance the issue of privacy. We are giving away our personal information whether we like it or not by simply interacting with the very tools we need to do our jobs and to live our lives. It's the nominal cost of being online. But most critically all these individual patches of personal information are getting correlated more and more. Tools now exist to take all of the billions of bits of information that you're generating every second and translated all into accurate estimations about your behavior, your desires, and likely actions that you cannot possibly predict for yourself. It's the ultimate instance of your reputation preceding yourself. While these systems have helped us to enjoy unprecedented online experiences they come also with a cost. Suppose I'm having a medical problem which I want to know more about without wanting to share that information about anybody. But what if your insurance company would know about your investigation and increase your insurance premium or even worse get you off the insurance policy all together? It is important that all stakeholders sit together. Delicate balances are needed and must be found to keep the system working. Thanks to the Internet, individuals have got a lot of power. It gives us all the power to act collectively, to confront powerful organizations and commercial entities and push them in certain directions. But power also comes with responsibility. That power should be applied to advance our society, not to one's benefit, to one's own benefit or for the sake of hurting others. And EuroDIG is the place par excellence where everyone can voice their concerns about the governance of the Internet and be heard. Your views and thoughts are more needed than ever to help shape this fast moving technological space. Today we are gathering here not only to discuss about shaping the use and evolution of the Internet and the way it is managed, but above all we are here with a common objective to enhance the understanding and dialogue about one of the most important inventions of mankind. We should not underestimate its potentials and I believe all good of the Internet is still to come and we have still to enjoy this. Let's work together with this goal in mind, let's work together to translate the digital evolution into a positive and constructive revolution, to underline how this fantastic tool can further improve our lives, our world. I wish you all a fruitful EuroDIG meeting.


>> EMILY TAYLOR: Marc van Wesemael, thank you, very much. Now I'd like to welcome to the stage Sandra Hoferichter who is the managing director of EuroDIG. Thanks to Sandra and her team that we are all here today and her tremendous work. So Sandra, the floor is yours.

>> SANDRA HOFERICHTER: Thank you, very much, Emily. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take up the words from the previous speaker and warmly welcome you to this. My special thanks goes to Megan Richards and Marc van Wesemael to inviting this community to the heart of Europe and to hosting two days of exchange, learning and controversy. But wait. Brussels is the heart of Europe. Isn't that a limitation to EU member states only? EuroDIG pretends to be on European forum and all European countries which some of them are European member states consider Brussels as the heart of Europe? Would Norway or Iceland? In the coming days you will discuss the governance of a network. This is tighter in some parts of the continent, however we all want to strengthen this but sometimes we have different ideas on how to do this. The D in EuroDIG stands for dialogue, for a platform to exchange and discuss ideas, to listen to each other. The event will be a success when you go home and see things a little bit differently than you have seen them before or if you have learned something completely new. Europeans have a good tradition in keeping up the dialogue and working out solutions jointly. Finance crisis, refugee crisis. Even if the results sometimes not to be a solution but only a little step forward. Europeans also experienced recently how the continent is physically interconnected and what happens if one country is closing the borders. Talking about the Internet, borders may they be territorial or cultural, never prove to be the right concept for good governance. During the next two days you will have opportunity to meet representatives from all stake holder groups. By the way the youngest registered participant is three months old, affiliation cyber kid. And we have to thank the little one that she allowed her mother from the EuroDIG secretariat to work so hard helping to organize this event.

(Applause) That's yours, Lorena. For the first time ever we had official travel support programme to invite participants who could otherwise not afford to participate. With the support of members of the European Parliament we could invite a number of young people and for the last three days they we are in the New Media Summer School. We received around 800 registrations, the highest number of EuroDIG so far. This means we are growing. The growth of the complex multistakeholder process would not have been possible without the support of our partners. I had like to thank them for keeping up our support for EuroDIG. The next session is dedicated to you. We would like to hear you first; you should set the scene for the next two days. Please share your thoughts on how you see the digital revolution on evolution. What are your concerns and your expectations and what would you like to discuss during the next two days. I wish us two days of fruitful and friendly debates and hand over to our lovely moderator Emily Taylor.


Megan Richards, Principal Advisor, European Commission
Marc van Wesemael, General Manager, EURid
Sandra Hoferichter, Secretary General, EuroDIG

Video record

See the video record in our youtube channel