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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

  • The debate on encryption in the EU has followed a familiar path in pitting national security against concerns about civil liberties and privacy. On the one hand, Governments and intelligence agencies have increasingly claimed that the widespread use of encryption could threaten national security. The UK government has gone so far as describing encrypted communication apps as giving “terrorists a place to hide”, while its French and German counterparts have likewise attacked these technologies as a barrier to law enforcement and counter-terror efforts.

    On the other hand, privacy...

    Date published 06 July 2017

  • Today, we released an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) Environment Assessment for Tajikistan. This report was carried out in the framework of Internet Society’s partnership agreement with GÉANT with a view to support regional Internet development in Central Asia. 

    The release of this report coincides with the 2nd Central Asian Internet Governance Forum (CAIGF), which takes place in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. This event gathers a wide range of stakeholders from Tajikistan as well as from the Central Asian region at large and provides an excellent opportunity to...

    Date published 22 June 2017

  • How do we create a more secure and trusted Internet within the multistakeholder model of Internet governance? That will be among the many questions addressed this week at the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) in Tallinn, Estonia. From June 5-7, we will have an Internet Society team on site participating in many sessions. Our EuroDIG 2017 page has all the details - including links to live video streams - but at a high level here are some of the workshops we are participating in:

    Plenary panel on cybersecurity New business models and the Internet Blockchain...
    Date published 04 June 2017

  • In April 2017, the Internet Society (ISOC) and GÉANT signed a partnership agreement – in the framework of the CAREN3 project – to promote Internet Exchange Points (IXP) in Central Asia with a focus on Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The CAREN3 project supports regional Internet connectivity of National Research and Education Networks (NREN) in Central Asia and is principally funded by the European Union (EU).

    Last week, in the framework of the ISOC-GÉANT partnership, the Internet Society organized a regional panel discussion and a workshop with the Kyrgyz Internet community on IXP...

    Date published 03 May 2017

  • 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