Mobilisation vote Citizen Rights Amendments on May6 Telecoms Package 2nd reading

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Two days to call all Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to ask them to vote again for the "CITIZEN RIGHTS AMENDMENTS", in the second reading of the Telecoms Package, which includes all the safeguards that were removed in the "compromise amendments", and crucial safeguards against "net discrimination" (original amendment 138/46, amendment 166 and others).

MEPs are in Strasbourg on Monday the 4th (they may arrive from Brussels around 12:00 or 13:00), Tuesday the 5th, and Wednesday the 6th of May.

On Wednesday, 6 May at 12:00, both the ITRE (rapported by C. Trautmann) and the IMCO (rapported by M. Harbour) reports will come to a vote in the second reading of the Telecoms Package.

In last-minute opaque negotiations with the EU Council, both rapporteurs agreed to water down in their reports the crucial safeguards for fundamental rights and freedoms of EU citizens:

  • In the IMCO/Harbour report, amendment 166 was replaced by an empty version that has no more protective value. Some very light protection against "net discrimination", where operators can choose what content, services and applications may be accessed or used through their networks, was also completely neutralized. The only protection left is now customer information through contracts, which is a scam, because customer and competition law cannot regulate fundamental rights (and they failed to regulate mobile communication networks, which are still agreed as cartels in most member states).
  • In the ITRE/Trautmann report, amendment 138/46 was turned into a weaker version (yet still a clear political sign and legal reminder against the French "three strikes" HADOPI bill), that may require interpretation from a court of justice, and years of challenge, to counter "graduated response"/"three strikes" schemes. The compromise doesn't impose anymore that any restriction be subject to a "prior ruling" by the judicial authority.

The Citizen Rights Amendments correct all these problems. They reinstate amendments 138/46 and 166, remove the open door to "three strikes" policies, and protect against abusive "net discrimination" practice by operators.

It is urgent to contact ALL Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to inform them about these issues, and advise them to follow La Quadrature's voting lists (Voting list for the IMCO/Harbour report and voting list for the ITRE/Trautmann report). Tell them that a few weeks before the elections, EU citizens are watching, recording and scoring their votes in Political Memory.

Most important amendments to be voted are

  • on Harbour report: am.101=111=117 and am.102=12=118 (against "net discrimination") and am. 62=94=104=119 (original am.166)
  • on Trautmann report: am.2=5=6=9 (original am.138)

Time is short and the stakes are crucial.


Everybody should contact all Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

Here is A list of all the MEPs and a list indicating how they previously voted on the Telecoms Package first reading.

Begin with the members from your country, then members from other countries.


  • Telephoning is much more effective than email, especially on such short notice.
  • MEPs will be reachable in Strasbourg on Monday (from 12/13:00), Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
  • Don't send mass mailings, but do send personal mails.
  • Always stay polite, even if you are unhappy or angry
  • Most of the time you will speak to assistants, who are young, intelligent, and understand Internet.


The vote will take place on Wednesday, 6 May, 2009, at 12:00. MEPs must be informed before that time.


Here are the major points you should explain to the MEPs and their assistants:

  • All MEPs must vote for the "Citizen's Rights Amendments", because safeguarding EU citizens' fundamental rights and freedom is the most important mission of the European Parliament. No compromise should be accepted on freedom, not even to make the EU procedure go faster.
  • Direct opposition to the EU Council is preferable to retreating from fundamental rights and freedoms, especially concerning the Internet, which is structuring the future of our societies. Moreover, the Citizens' Rights Amendments do not directly oppose the compromise negotiated with the Council: they strengthen it.
  • Right before the elections, it's a perfect way to show the usefulness of the European Parliament and its commitment to protecting EU citizens, and to send them a strong signal.
  • "Net Discrimination", which gives operators the right to limit access to content, applications, and services over the Internet, is NOT just a market and competition problem, because the Internet is today essential to the exercise of fundamental rights.
  • The failure of competition laws to regulate the behaviour of mobile operators is a blatant example of why we need a strong regulation to protect the structure of the Internet against "net discrimination".
  • Amendment 138 was approved by 88% of the European Parliament in first reading on September 24, 2008. It has been accepted by the Commission, and Mrs Reding herself said that “The Commission considers this amendment to be an important restatement of key legal principles of the Community legal order, especially of citizens' fundamental rights.” It has been accepted again in the ITRE committee by a vote of 40 to 4.
  • Amendment 138 protects users' rights. It reinforces a fundamental principle of European law: except where public security is directly threatened, only a judge can impose conditions -- a sentence under law -- that restrict a citizen's fundamental rights and freedoms.

The original amendment 138:

Applying the principle that no restriction may be imposed
on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users, 
without a “prior ruling by the judicial authorities,”
notably in accordance with Article 11  of the Charter of
Fundamental Rights of the European Union on freedom of
expression and information, save when public security
is threatened in which case the ruling may be subsequent.

(The notion of "prior ruling by the judicial authority" is crucial, and not as clear in the compromise amendments.)

  • Opposing "graduated response" (or "three strikes") schemes is not only a French problem, because other EU states are considering such schemes, and at some point it was sneaked into the Telecoms Package. It is also about opposing other forms of private, nonjudicial, parallel "justice" that would be dangerous for everyone's civil liberties.
  • It is a strong signal to EU citizens at a time when EU institutions face a deep crisis of confidence that they will protect EU citizens, not merely be a rubber stamp for the wrong-headed schemes of certain Member States.

Most important amendments to be voted are

  • on Harbour report: am.101=111=117 and am.102=12=118 (against "net discrimination") and am. 62=94=104=119 (original am.166)
  • on Trautmann report: am.2=5=6=9 (original am.138)

Here are crucial amendments you should tell MEPs to vote for:

  • Trautmann's report
    • 3=7: guarantee of access and distribution of any content/application/service
    • 1CP=2=5=6=9: original 138
  • Harbour's report
    • 101=111=117: no discrimination in traffic management policies
    • 102=112=118: regulatory powers against discriminated traffic management policies
    • 62=94=104=119: original 166
    • 96=106=120 : deleting cooperation between ISP and copyright holder about lawful content

Other amendments are also important, see the voting list for the ITRE/Trautmann report and the voting list for the IMCO/Harbour report.


Example phone call

  • "You" : _"Hello, i am ... , living in ..., I am calling you today regarding the vote in second reading of the Telecoms Package."

(let your correspondent introduce herself, give her opinion and infos on the question, etc.)

  • "You" : _'The "Citizen Rights Amendements' are a strong set of amendments to protect EU citizens. They are protective of fundamental freedoms, when media industries want to impose their private police and parallel, arbitrary justice over the Internet, like what they are trying to do in France and in some other Member States. They also protect against 'net discrimination', where operators want to limit the ability to access content, applications or services to maximize the revenues of their own services."
  • "Interlocutor" : "Mrs/Mr MEP is concerned with this topic, but she/he will follow the instructions of the political group."
  • "You" : _"The compromise amendments removed essential protections: they weakened amendment 138/46 in ITRE, and completely neutralized article 32a (am.166) in IMCO and recital 26 that was vaguely protective against 'net discrimination'. You cannot tolerate such a step back on fundamental freedoms!"
  • "Interlocutor" : "It is complicated. We need to reach an agreement in order to avoid the conciliation procedure with the Council."
  • "You" : _"Is simply reaching an agreement on a certain schedule more important than protecting EU citizens' fundamental rights and freedoms? It is important, before the elections, to show that the Parliament is useful, that it protects its electors, and that it doesn't bend under the pressure that a few Member States apply through the Council! It is more important to get it right than to get it soon!"
  • "Interlocutor" : "There are many other important issues in the Telecoms Package, industries are waiting..."
  • "You" : _"We need Europe to protect citizens before industries. Please tell Mrs/Mr MEP to vote for the CRA amendments in the name of its electors, who will be very attentive to the outcome of this vote. I am available if you have questions about these issues, or other issues related to civil liberties in the digital environment. (Leave your contact info.) Have a nice day, and thank you for your time!"

See below for counter-counter-arguments...

Other example phone call to begin the conversation

  • "You" : _"Hello, my name is ..., I live in .... I am calling you regarding the 'Citizen Rights Amendments' of the Telecom Package. Mrs/Mr MEP XXX will have to vote on Wednesday on these amendments. I just wanted to tell you my support for having them adopted."
  • "Interlocutor" : _"Mrs/Mr MEP is concerned with this topic, but you know, it's not so simple. There is a lot of pressure and it would be a pity to make the Telecom Package 'fall' because of this amendment."
  • "You" : _"I understand this delicate situation. But I feel that the Council is trying to reverse the responsibilities. It would be natural, I would say indispensable, to save an amendment that had been supported twice by 90% of the Parliament, and to keep other essential safeguards for EU citizens. If the Council doesn't accept that, then the Council alone be responsible for the Telecom Package's 'failure'. I would like to add that this pressure looks like a bluff. The Telecom Package represents 3 years of work from a lot of parliamentarians. The council will not decide to put the Telecom Package in danger."
  • "Interlocutor" : _"Okay, but you know ..."
  • "Conversation"
  • "You" : _"Thanks a lot for listening to me, and thanks to you for your work and also to Mrs/Mr MEP XXX. If you can tell him/her about my call I would appreciate it. And you can tell him/her also that he/she can call me at (phone number) if he/she wants to talk about that"
  • "Interlocutor" : _"Of course, no problem."

Arguments and counter-arguments

Here are arguments you will hear, and how to counter them:

Si on vous oppose des arguments auxquels vous ne pouvez répondre, merci de les ajouter à la liste, ou envoyez-nous un e-mail (contact AT laquadrature DOT net), nous essayerons d'y répondre aussi vite que possible.

  • Il n'y a pas de problème de "discrimination d'accès à Internet", car les amendements de compromis obligent les opérateurs à donner des informations claires sur les usagers sur toute limitation d'accès aux contenus, services et applications via leurs services d'accès.
    • Le droit à la liberté d'expression, d'information et d'éducation n'est pas une question de loi de consommation ou de compétition. Malcolm Harbour ne peut prétendre que seules les lois sur la concurrence vont résoudre les mauvais comportement des opérateurs de télécom, quand il a fallut 10 ans à l'Europe pour sanctionner Microsoft pour abus de position dominante et de monopole sans résultat et quand rien n'a été fait contre les opérateurs de téléphonie mobile (dans la plupart des états membres, ils se sont structurés en cartels et ont décidé d'un commun accord de bannir la voix sur IP, le peer-to-peer et les logiciels de streaming des offres d'Internet mobile !)
  • Retourner à l'amendement 138/46 ou appuyer les amendements sur les droits du citoyen pourrait causer un conflit direct avec le Conseil, amenant ainsi à une procédure de conciliation (une sorte de troisième lecture, où le texte est négocié entre le parlement et le conseil), ce qui pourrait prendre encore de longs mois et on pourrait perdre ce qu'on a déjà gagné.
    • Le rôle premier du Parlement Européen doit être de protéger les citoyens de l'Union Européenne : "primum non nocere". Protéger les droits des citoyens et leurs libertés doit être plus important pour le parlement que de tenter de se tenir à un agenda. Les eurodéputés ne veulent pas montrer que le Parlement Européen se courbe toujours devant le conseil. Cela montrerait que le Parlement Européen est inutile et que le Conseil obtient toujours ce qu'il dicte.
  • Si on passe par une procédure de conciliation, tout devra être renégocié et on risque de perdre plein de choses importantes qui sont déjà acquises dans le Paquet Télécom
    • En matière de protection des droits du citoyen, il n'y a pas tellement de choses déjà acquises. De plus, réaffirmer une seconde fois son engagement dans la protection des droits et libertés des citoyens montrerait que le Parlement Européen est en position de force dans les négociations avec le Conseil. Aussi, nous ne savons pas à quel point la démocratie suédoise pourra avoir comme poids lors de sa présidence... (ajouter à cela la réponse précédente)
  • L'amendement 138/46 n'est pas légal dans la loi de certains états membres. Certains états comme la France, le Royaume Uni ou la Suède ne l'accepteront pas au travers du Conseil.

Peut-être que ces pays veulent seulement implanter ces systèmes de réponse graduées ou de triple riposte, comme la désastreuse loi HADOPI ou veulent créer certaines polices privées et une justice parallèle désastreuse pour les droits des citoyens. C'est tout simplement inacceptable.

  • De toutes façons, personne ne va approuver des amendements contre le souhait des rapporteurs !
    • Les rapporteurs savent que c'est la bonne chose pour garantir les droits des citoyens de l'Union Européenne et ils ont besoin d'une forte majorité pour les soutenir.

Quelques semaines avant les élections, avec une abstention massive d'attendue, le rejet d'une protection forte pour les droits et les libertés des citoyens serait un message catastrophique à envoyer aux électeurs.

Lettres types

Ne jamais oublier que c'est contre-productif de copier/coller des e-mails. Les mails personnels sont toujours plus efficaces (mais les appels téléphoniques sont ce qu'on fait de mieux !).

Voici une liste de messages envoyés aux eurodéputés (lien en anglais).

Contactez-nous pour nous donner des retours et de l'aide

Si on vous pose une question que vous ne savez pas répondre, NE PANIQUEZ PAS. Dites simplement que vous rappellerez et contactez nous (contact AT laquadrature DOT net). Nous serons heureux de vous aidez en répondant à toutes vos questions.

N'hésitez pas non plus à nous contacter pour rendre compte des conversation avec votre Eurodéputé et quelles réponses vous avez reçu.

Communiqués de presse (en anglais)