The last workshop I attended today was about EuroDIG. The discussions were centered both around the past and the future of this European IGF.
One common element that was mentioned by almost all speakers was the fact that EuroDIG started as a bottom-up process, from the need to do something about Internet Governance at European level. It was mentioned that this might be viewed as the major advantage of the EuroDIG, as if the process had been initiated by an EU institution, this institution would have had the right to somehow dominate it.
In terms of challenges for future EuroDIG editions, it was outlined that it has to become more representative, to include more actors (especially governments, which still tend to be ignorant when it comes to IG debates, but also the European Parliament and the European Commission ) and that there is a need for more outreach. Also, EuroDIG has to become more robust (also in terms of financial resources). There is a need to identify what impact EuroDIG has had on national policies, what changed at national levels that can be attributed to EuroDIG.
As there are already 10-12 national IGFs taking place within various European states, there is a need for them to be better connected with the EuroDIG.
As next year’s EuroDIG will take place in Belgrade, Serbia, in the Eastern part of Europe, one important point was raised on the issue that this should be an opportunity and a challenge for East European countries to join the process and to become active. But most of these countries will first need to be made aware of IG debates and on the importance of taking part in them, in general, and in EuroDIG, in particular.
As, at a point, the debate moved to the EU’s future involvement in the process, it was outlined that the European Union is not equivalent to Europe, and that if EuroDIG is to be taken over by an EU institution, this would mean that several European countries would be excluded.
As a concluding remark, it was outlined the fact that EuroDIG is a remarkable IG process taking place at European level, but that it still needs improvements and that more actors need to be brought at the debating table for future editions.
I personally attended one EuroDIG edition on site and one remotely, and I can say that, with both occasions, I was positively impressed by the remarkable dedication of all those people making the process real, by the quality of the discussions being held and by the more and more outreach it tends to have and more and more interest it tends to arise among all European stakeholders. I can only hope that the future will bring improvements.