European Commission Urges ICANN to Embrace Multi-Stakeholder Approach

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ICANN’s cozy relationship with the US must end, and the organization must embrace a multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance, according to a speech Wednesday by EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Despite its international membership, California-based ICANN has been criticized around its skew towards US issues. In her presentation on the European Commission’s new policy on Internet governance, Kroes said that ICANN’s operating agreement with the US is outdated, and called for a clear timeline for ICANN to be more inclusive and accountable.

The European Commission’s policy rejects any United Nations or governmental takeover of Internet governance, and instead calls for a ICANN to take a multi-stakholder approach – an approach that it has been talking about embracing for years.

“I agree that governments have a crucial role to play, but top-down approaches are not the right answer,” Kroes said. “We must strengthen the multi-stakeholder model to preserve the internet as a fast engine for innovation.”

Recently, Irish domain registrar and hosting provider Blacknight said that ICANN’s Registrar Accreditation Agreement for 2013 is not compatible with EU law, providing more detail on its blog.

Last year, ICANN created a panel on the Future of Global Internet Cooperation in order to release proposed framewrorks and a roadmap for future Internet governance challenges. At the time, ICANN said the panel was committed to a multistakeholder approach.

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