Opening of the EuroDIG2024 and Baltic Domain Days

17 Jun 2024 16:00h - 16:30h

Table of contents

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Full session report

EuroDIG 2024 kicks off in Vilnius with a focus on balancing innovation and regulation in the digital age

The European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) 2024 officially commenced in Vilnius, Lithuania, with a series of welcoming addresses from distinguished figures, each underscoring the significance of the conference’s theme: Balancing Innovation and Regulation in the digital realm.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda opened the event by welcoming the delegates and stressing the potential global impact of the discussions set to take place in Vilnius. He highlighted the centrality of the human element amidst technological advancements and cautioned against the misuse of technology. President Nausėda also took pride in Lithuania’s initiatives to enhance digital literacy among seniors, demonstrating the country’s commitment to digital inclusion.

Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė continued the theme of digital responsibility, addressing the challenges posed by disinformation and the exploitation of social networks by authoritarian regimes. She called for an international regulatory framework that balances the need for control with the preservation of freedom of expression and innovation. The Prime Minister showcased Lithuania’s strides in public sector innovation, particularly through the creation of the State Data Agency and the GovTech Lab, which exemplify the country’s dedication to data-driven governance and innovation.

Rimoka Štolita, the session’s moderator and a Lithuanian communications expert, welcomed the participants and shared a local legend about the founding of Vilnius, symbolising the city’s legacy of disseminating messages far and wide.

Jūratė Šovienė, Chair of the Council of Communications Regulatory Authority of Lithuania, delivered an insightful speech that touched on the capabilities of technology, such as ChatGPT, to assist in crafting speeches for various purposes. She drew a parallel between the digital revolution and Gutenberg’s printing press, reminding the audience that the true essence of digital transformation is the people it serves. Šovienė called for EuroDIG to serve as a storytelling platform, encouraging the sharing of personal and organisational narratives to better understand and shape the digital world.

Professor Edita Gimžauskienė from Kaunas University of Technology represented the academic sector, emphasising the importance of dialogue, diversity, and community in building a secure and resilient society. She highlighted the event’s commitment to openness and transparency, which are key to successful outcomes.

Sandra Hoferichter, Secretary General of EuroDIG, and Thomas Schneider, President of the EuroDIG Support Association, jointly thanked the hosts and highlighted the growing relevance of global digital governance processes. They encouraged active participation in developing a vision for more inclusive and transparent digital policymaking and announced the impressive number of registrations for the event, signalling a strong interest in the conference’s agenda.

In summary, the opening session of EuroDIG 2024 set a collaborative tone, with a clear focus on the human-centric approach to technology and the need for collective efforts in shaping internet governance. The event was presented as a unique opportunity for stakeholders to engage in meaningful dialogue, exchange insights, and work towards a more inclusive and effective digital future.

Session transcript

Okay, it’s time to start. Good afternoon, dear EuroDIG participants, experts and decision makers, regulators, innovators from the public and private sectors, as well as society and academic community representatives. Welcome to the European Dialogue on Internet Governance, or simply EuroDIG, here in Vilnius. As the municipality official told EuroDIG participants a few days ago, Vilnius is the capital of talent. And during the days of EuroDIG, even more talent came to our smart and innovative capital. Thank you for that, for being here with us in Vilnius. And now let me introduce briefly myself. I’m Rimoka Štolita, a communication expert and representative of the communications regulatory authority of Lithuania. I have no doubts that you know our organization and even the colors of our logo, because you can see them everywhere since we are the host of EuroDIG in Vilnius. And now I’m inviting you to listen to a welcoming speech of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Mr. Gitanas Nausėda.

Gitanas Nauseda:
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the European Dialogue on Internet Governance. I have no doubt that the three-day expert discussion in Vilnius will bring useful suggestions and solutions not only to Europe, but to the whole world. It is a great opportunity to prepare the future forums of the coming European countries, as well as new global digital agreements. Speaking of technological advancements, we must not forget the most important element – human. Technology is invaluable and can even be harmful if users are not effectively and safely used. That is why it is one of the biggest challenges to distinguish digital today. That is why it is important to improve the digital services of all our people, regardless of their age. Lithuania has already taken the initiative, starting a project that is neither one nor forgotten, whose goal is to increase the use of senior digital. I am glad that the EuroDIG conference will be heard by young people today. We can create a digital future only by involving future creators. You always have the opportunity in Vilnius to explore the vision of European digital leaders. The future of innovation is being born in these days of discussion.

Our President wished that the insights and ideas born here in Vilnius would spread all over the world. Spreading messages, we can say, is a part of Vilnius’ identity. And since we say that EuroDIG is more than just a conference, let me tell you a story. I heard from EuroDIG participants that we heard some of our folk traditions and legends, but they said that they didn’t know this legend. So let me tell you a story about Vilnius. According to the legend, centuries ago, Grand Duke Gediminas was on a hunting trip in the forest of Sventaragis Valley, around the mouth of the river Vilna. When night fell, the party, tired after a long and successful hunt, decided to set up a camp and spend the night there. While asleep, Gediminas had an unusual dream in which he saw an iron wolf at the top of a mountain where he had killed a European bison that day. The iron wolf stood on the top of a hill with its head raised proudly towards the moon, howling as loud as a hundred wolves. Awakened by the rising sun rays, the Duke remembered his strange dream and consulted the pagan priest about it. He told the Duke that the dream was a direction to find a city among these hills. And the howling of a wolf, explained the priest, represented the fame of a future city. That city would be the capital of Lithuanian land, and its reputation would spread far and wide, as far as the howling of a mysterious wolf. So now you know the legend, and you have three days to create the legend of EuroDIG, which will spread all around the world. I wish you from all my heart this. And now, one more speech. I invite you to hear the speech of the Lithuanian Prime Minister, Mrs. Ingrida Šimonyte.

Ingrida Simonyte:
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor to welcome you to the EuroDIG 2024 conference here in Vilnius, Lithuania. The theme of this year, Balancing Innovation and Regulation, captures the essence of our journey in the digital age. Lithuania is proud to host this event, attended by over 300 delegates from across Europe to discuss Internet governance and public policy. These issues we face are crucial, especially considering how disinformation and social networks impact democracies. Authoritarian regimes exploit these tools to undermine democratic nations, making it vital to regulate global social networks while safeguarding the freedom of expression and innovation. As a government, we work with major social networks to share our concerns, but a balanced international framework is needed for real impact. I am pleased that EuroDIG is focusing on public sector innovations, which are irreplaceable for democracies. Democracies must constantly reinvent themselves to remain effective. Lithuania has advanced the data-driven decision-making by transforming its statistics department into the State Data Agency, which integrates near real-time data from all public institutions. This data lake enhances decision-making and policy development. Our GovTech Lab is another example of successful public sector innovation. As we engage in these discussions, let us remember that our insights and actions can drive meaningful change. Thank you for your commitment. I look forward to the insights and solutions from this conference.

While listening to the video speeches in this digital context and innovations, I wondered how long it will take to see on the stage avatars. But no, time will show, and now let me introduce a very real person, Mrs. Jūratė Šovienė, the Chair of the Council of Communications Regulatory Authority of Lithuania. And today, thanks to Jurata, we can all meet you here in Vilnius. Jurata, stage yourself.

Jūratė Soviene:
Not avatar yet. A few weeks ago, I confided in a colleague about the challenge of preparing welcome speech for EuroDIG. The colleague suggested using ChatGPT, pointing out that it can create a speech for any occasion in any desired style. All we had to do was to provide a good prompt. My colleague is laughing. Sure enough, this tool, based on a large language model, could prepare a flawless speech in just a few seconds. It could highlight the importance of EuroDIG and the significance of balancing innovation and regulation, which is the theme of our event. With ChatGPT, we can craft speeches suitable for a president, a professor, a student, or a market regulator like myself. A ChatGPT president would inspire a unified vision, while a professor’s speech would underscore the role of research, academic discussions, and higher education in shaping digital transformation policies. A bureaucrat’s speech would address key regulatory challenges, the importance of public interest and stakeholder collaboration. Meanwhile, a ChatGPT student would remind us that their voice is crucial and must be heard. Everyone would genuinely thank the organizers, sponsors, and all contributors to EuroDIG. These technological tools, based on a large language model, are brilliant innovations that help us craft compelling speeches. But they offer more than that. The technological achievements of the digital age and the refinement of artificial intelligence are comparable to the revolution sparkled by Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in the 15th century. The advancements influence how we live, work, learn, and interact with the world around us. They are reshaping the fabric of society. However, the essence of digital transformation is not technology, but people and their potential. Technology cannot replace the power of personal stories and the emotions they evoke. In this technological age, we have given too much power to our fingertips. But the true power lies in life interaction, body language, personal presence. For over six months while preparing for EuroDIG, our team here in Lithuania has been spreading the message that EuroDIG indeed is more than just a conference. It’s a platform for sharing stories, engaging ideas, experiences, and future visions. Through these narratives, we can understand the digital world’s impact on our lives and collaborate to create a better, more inclusive Internet. So when discussing Internet governance, let’s not stuck on high-level principles. Let’s use EuroDIG as a platform for storytelling, personal stories, organizational stories, stories from the countries you represent, stories of success, stories of lessons learned. Each of us has the power to influence the future of Internet. But together, we can achieve greater success by protecting human rights in the digital age, by safeguarding everyone from illegal content from children to the elderly, by ensuring access to the Internet and digital public services for all, by enabling participation in the democratic process, by controlling our own data, and by ensuring that technology unites us rather than divides. Let’s talk about technology in the world of people, not people in the world of technology. Let’s share stories we’ve lived, stories that CGPT could not generate. Dear ladies and gentlemen, friends and colleagues, a very warm welcome to all of you. To Vilnius, a very warm welcome to EuroDIG 2024. Thank you.

Thank you, dear Jurate. This year, EuroDIG is unique. Well, I think it’s always unique, but with some more uniqueness. It’s unique because one more event is being held as a part of it. Do you know the name of the event? BALTIC DOMAIN DAYS? Exactly. Right answer. I don’t have a prize, but thank you. Yeah, exactly. So I’m talking about the main industry event focusing specifically on the Baltic region. And as you mentioned, Baltic Domain Days 2024. And the main topics of this event will cover domain usage and DNS abuse issues, internationalized domain names, DNS role in content blocking, new regulations affecting the domain industry, and many other things. But now, the host of this event is Konus University of Technology Internet Service Center DomReq. And please welcome its representative, Professor Edita Gimžauskien, Vice Rector of Partnerships at Konus University of Technology.

Edita Gimzauskien:
I have to close it. Good afternoon for everyone. I’m really pleased to be part of such a distinctive event, EuroDIG and Baltic Domain Days, and to be one of the welcome speakers here this afternoon. Here I am representing Konus University of Technology and technology, I think, is the key word in this community. And my task is to send the warmest greetings from our KTU community, from our top management team, and our rector in particular. But from my side, let me start with a citation of Her Excellency, Secretary General of Commonwealth Nation Patricia Scotland. Last year, she was participating in Berkeley Innovation Forum. She gave a keynote speech, and she said that electricity and connectivity is a human right. But having said that, I think it’s really important to mention that we have the other side of that right, which means security and resilience. And looking at the title of this event, I think the most important keyword here is dialogue. It’s dialogue, bringing together different stakeholders, looking for the common language for discussions, moving towards bottom-up decisions and policy making. And they went through your website, and I think the most important keyword here is openness, transparency, diversity, which are features for success. Because as far as I know, in this event, we have 570 representatives from different countries, from different institutions, on-site or online, with a diversity of topics and with a diversity of experience. And I think that that really matters. So keep going on building the community, looking for common language for decisions for the resilient and safe, secure society. Enjoy Vilnius, and enjoy the event. Thank you.

Gitanas Nauseda:
Thank you, Professor. So our speeches are coming to an end, but I want to invite to the stage the last two speakers. Please welcome Sandra Hoferichter, Secretary General of EURIDIC, and the driving force behind this initiative and three days we had here together. And I’m pleased to introduce Mr. Thomas Schneider, President of EURIDIC Support Association, and whose insights about artificial intelligence I was reading so many times on LinkedIn. Well, welcome everyone.

Sandra Hoferichter:
Last year, Thomas and I, we started a tradition that none of us is holding a welcome speech that the both of us are actually giving together a warm welcome to everyone of you. And it’s my absolute pleasure to welcome you here in Vilnius today. And I’m really, absolutely amazed that we are getting back to the numbers that we saw before the pandemic. Last year, at the same time, when we’ve been in Tampere, we didn’t even know who is our next host. But then there was the magic moment when I received a WhatsApp message from a lady I didn’t know so far. Hey, we are willing to do EuroDIG. We are interested. What does it take? And from there on, a fantastic relationship with Inga and her colleagues established. And now we are here. And I would really, really thank the host, the regulator, but also the various ministries and Go! Vilnius for inviting us, for giving us such a warm welcome in the preparation phase. Real friendship have grown, not only when meeting in Kyoto with Vice Minister Agne, but also beyond these occasions. So I just asked Rainer to tell me what the actual number of registrations are. And other than the website suggests, there are quite a lot that are not published on the website because people don’t give consent to be published. But at the moment, these are 764 registrations. Of course, a number of them will be joining online, but that’s OK. We were always open for hybrid events. So that’s absolutely fine. The youngest participant is two years old. So let’s build on the next generation, but not only with the two-year-old, but also I would like to mention that our youth participants have prepared quite intensively over the past two days for their messages that you will hear in a minute. Speaking about the wonderful host, if any one of you is interested in hosting EuroDIG at any time, please reach out to Thomas and myself. We are always open to engage with a new country. We haven’t visited all the countries yet. So take the opportunity, talk to us and maybe consider to be a host in any future year. One technical announcement, though, we will have the opening plenary dedicated to the Global Digital Compact and the other global processes. We want to send a strong message from Vilnius. There will be messages of Vilnius, of course, but we would like to send a strong message in particular to this process. After the discussion we had today and after the opening plenary, which will also deal about these issues, we would like to invite everyone who is interested in drafting the messages already tomorrow at nine o’clock in workshop room one. So Mark Cavall will be there. He’s our chair in leading that consultation process. And it would be our aim to come up on Wednesday with a very strong message.

Thomas Schneider:
Thank you, Sandra. And hello, everyone. I’m very happy to be back in Vilnius after the IGF 2010. So 500 years ago and with what has been going on since then. Sandra has already mentioned it. We are talking this time, we are talking way more about global processes that we have been involved in. And we are very happy to be back in Vilnius after the IGF 2010. In the past years, we were busy with the AI Act and the DMA and the DSA and all the things that the EU in particular is striving forward, which are important things to try and find a way to maximize opportunities and minimize risks in the digital space. But now in the past few months, there have been many international processes where everybody starts with saying we are at a crucial moment because many things will be decided in the next one and a half years. And indeed, of course, we are always at the crucial moment. We know this, but this time we are definitely in a crucial moment. And we’ve already heard it this morning. We do have some gaps in global digital governance that we can maybe not solve in Europe alone, but where we have to find agreement on a global level, which is not very easy. And we do have proposals on the table from other areas, from what we call not necessarily like-minded countries, that we need to tackle with. And of course, we are right when we say we should not duplicate existing processes that work well. On the other hand, of course, we know that there are gaps. We know that not all processes that exist work equally well. So we cannot just say, let’s not change anything. And instead of always reacting to ideas from others that we may not be convinced that they go in the right direction, we should take the time, we should take the opportunity to think about what is it that we want, we Europeans and people from elsewhere in the world, that are looking for ways for a more inclusive, more accountable, more transparent policymaking processes, whether they are multi-stakeholder, multilateral. And I think EuroDIG is an important moment to develop such ideas. We had a NetMundial in Brazil. So the Brazilians, together with the support of many of us here, have developed a vision. They have done something. They have produced a document. They have produced a blueprint for more inclusive processes on digital governance. And this is the example. We need to actively come up, produce a vision that we can present to others instead of just trying to prevent others from moving things forward because time doesn’t stand still. Digital world has progressed. Also, the internet governance and the digital policy architecture has progressed, but maybe not as much as it should. So there will be more important decisions that will be taken this year with the GDC and the Summit for the Future and the report of the UN AI, the HLAB report, and next year, of course, the WSIS Plus 20 and everything. We just had intense discussions in Geneva. So we’re happy to see also, of course, Thomas here. And if we don’t develop our own ideas, if we don’t bring in our own ideas, we’ll have to react and react and react and try to prevent others from doing, which is, again, probably not the best solution. So let’s use this opportunity of us gathering here. Let’s use and live the multistakeholder dialogue, but also, let’s say, policy or vision development in a multistakeholder framework. Because if we just talk about multistakeholderism but do not contribute to making it work, to having an effect that is tangible, that people feel, that people see, then, of course, that opens the door for other ideas that may less built on an inclusive and transparent vision. So let’s use these free days. And with this, I would like to very heartfully thank our Lithuanian hosts, everybody in the team. This is always an exercise that takes works and lots of nights and discussions. So we know how this is. So let me thank you. And as Sandra has said, we are still open for other hosts in the future. It is definitely a crucial time. So, yeah, any next dialogue opportunity is an important one. It’s needed. But it’s not just the host and the secretariat. We all need to participate. We need to devote resources that goes also to our bosses, to those that fund. Because if these are empty shells, then the others can say, well, the multistakeholder model doesn’t work. And we want it to work. So it’s the task for all of us. Thank you very much.


Edita Gimzauskien

Speech speed

110 words per minute

Speech length

315 words

Speech time

171 secs


Gitanas Nauseda

Speech speed

141 words per minute

Speech length

297 words

Speech time

127 secs


Ingrida Simonyte

Speech speed

126 words per minute

Speech length

240 words

Speech time

114 secs


Jūratė Soviene

Speech speed

128 words per minute

Speech length

575 words

Speech time

269 secs



Speech speed

163 words per minute

Speech length

744 words

Speech time

273 secs


Sandra Hoferichter

Speech speed

170 words per minute

Speech length

560 words

Speech time

197 secs


Thomas Schneider

Speech speed

193 words per minute

Speech length

907 words

Speech time

281 secs