Gunnar Hökmark, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group. Madam President, it is important to underline the rapid change that use of the internet and ICT has brought about, not only for individual societies, but also for the world. In all sectors of societies, the impact of the internet has changed patterns and opportunities. This is important in order to keep a perspective for the future, because the strength of the internet has been its independent nature, its opportunities and its ability to adapt to different opportunities and demands in societies, based on a number of different actors and operators.
It is important because, when we look to the future, we must ensure that it can be used in order to bridge rifts between countries and people, and help to fight poverty and support development it is of crucial importance for the Millennium Goals, for example. The emergence of new technology should also be used to ensure that it is easier for more people to use the internet, in more societies.
We in the European Union have three important things to focus on. First of all, we should ensure we are committed to, and support, the IGF process and its independent and non-binding character. That is of deep importance, because it is a good process which is much more dynamic when it is independent and non-binding.
Secondly, we should contribute to the preparations for the next IGF in New Delhi, and ensure that we hold discussions with parliamentarians and civil society in order to underline its independence, but also the opportunities. Thirdly, we should ensure that the internet is guaranteed freedom and freedom of expression.