EU ministers to discuss roadmap to bolster coordination at UN telecom agency –

European governments are set to discuss how the EU can better make its voice heard at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations telecom agency, and might request the EU executive and diplomatic branches provide a roadmap.

The point regarding “setting a coordination mechanism within the EU and strengthening the relations between the ITU and the EU” has been added at the request of Lithuania, Portugal and Poland to the agenda of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council that will gather EU ministers to discuss digital policy on 2 June.

In January, EURACTIV revealed that ITU was considering setting up shop in Brussels as part of a broader effort to increase regional engagement. While the proposal for an ITU office did not fly, there seems to be support for the idea that closer coordination among member states and the European institutions is needed to better defend the EU’s interests in these international fora.

“Assuring a higher level of coordination and engagement with ITU is crucial to the EU’s internal and external engagement on digital matters,” reads the information note from the Lithuanian, Polish and Portuguese delegations, seen by EURACTIV.

“The signatories call upon the Council to request the European Commission, together with the EEAS [European External Action Service], to propose a roadmap by the end of 2024 in order to ensure that close and structured coordination within the EU becomes an integral part and core component of the EU’s external actions, and which will allow the implementation of the EU’s strategic objectives within the ITU framework.”

UN telecom standardisation agency mulls new Brussels office

This article was updated with a correction on the role of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications.

The United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is considering opening up a new office in Brussels amid calls from EU countries to represent …

According to the three European countries, close coordination among the member states is the only way to ensure the EU can speak with a single voice in ITU, as was the case during the Plenipotentiary Conference last October when EU countries had common lines to take and managed to get both Western-backed candidates in the top posts of the UN agency.

However, the note stresses that there is no systemic coordination among member states on ITU activities, such as active participation and mutually agreed contributions, meaning Europe’s potential is often underutilised.

“As digital issues gain considerable international traction, these topics are also inevitable parameters in the EU’s competitiveness with the potential to shift the power balance in an ever-changing geopolitical landscape,” the note continues.

In July 2022, the EU Council adopted a strategic document calling for stepping up digital diplomacy as part of the broader foreign policy of the European bloc. For the three countries, such a dimension requires more robust engagement to develop common digital policies.

The signatories’ recipe consists of strengthening collaboration between ITU, the EU Council and the Commission, including engagement with business, academia and civil society, and leveraging the EU’s track record of digital cooperation, such as the Global Gateway.

As such, the EU executive and diplomatic branches are urged to step up their game and ensure that there is effective coordination with the rotating presidency of the EU Council, that strategic goals are set for the next Plenipotentiary Conference in 2026, and to raise Europe’s contribution on the global stage more broadly.

Lisbon, Warsaw and Vilnius are asking for the roadmap to be brought to a ministerial meeting for discussion and input.

[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]

Read more with EURACTIV

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *