Brussels, 15 November 2023 – CENTR, the association of European country code top-level domain registries (ccTLDs), such as .be for Belgium and .it for Italy, launches ‘Towards a Stronger Internet: Principles for the Next Digital Decade’, following its general meeting on 14 November 2023. The Principles outline the European ccTLDs' proposed approach to safeguarding Europe’s digital future in the upcoming decade, particularly in the context of the 2024 EU elections and potential shifts in strategic focus during the next legislative mandate.
The Principles for the Next Digital Decade draw upon the knowledge of ccTLDs as internet infrastructure actors. The Principles identify the core areas that CENTR’s members believe EU policy makers should focus on: Interoperability, Competition, Access & Cybersecurity, Fundamental rights, Online content, and Governance, as they set priorities for ensuring and delivering a safe and human-centric digital future.
The guiding principles include calls for EU leaders to:
- Support a free Next Generation internet based on open standards and the evolving multistakeholder model
- Create technologically neutral legislation and insist on level playing field and decentralised solutions
- Enable easy access to European digital identifiers such as domain names
- Ensure transparency in the human rights impact assessments around digital policies and uphold high data protection standards
- Respect due process and proportionality in future legislation that deals with removal or blocking of online content
- Create evidence-based legislation
Polina Malaja, Policy Director at CENTR spoke on the announcement: “With a variety of upcoming policy and legislative initiatives affecting digital infrastructure, it is important to take into account the perspective and experience of the key actors that keep the internet up and running. This dialogue will help avoiding unintentional consequences that could negatively affect the technical infrastructure and could have far reaching impact on European citizens and business.
“CENTR members are committed to making the internet ecosystem stronger, more resilient, and future-proof, and these principles reflect that dedication. As EU heads toward the next digital decade, we must maintain the core elements of the free and open internet that have allowed information society to develop and thrive,” concluded Malaja.
CENTR is the association of European country code top-level domain (ccTLD) registries, such as .de for Germany or .si for Slovenia. CENTR currently counts 51 full and 8 associate members – together, they are responsible for over 80% of all registered domain names worldwide. The objectives of CENTR are to promote and participate in the development of high standards and best practices among ccTLD registries. Full membership is open to organisations, corporate bodies or individuals that operate a country code top level domain registry.