Earlier this evening in Singapore the board of ICANN met with the GAC (representatives of governments).
The meeting’s start was delayed by about 45 minutes and the entire thing ran over by about an hour.
While it was evident that the relations between the GAC and board aren’t exactly “warm” there usually is a certain degree of mutual respect and general civility. This evening’s meeting, however, was quite different.
While exchanges between most of the “veteran” GAC members and ICANN’s board were civil and professional the tone of the exchange was changed quite dramatically by the interventions of one rep – Mr Gerard de Graaf, who supposedly speaks on behalf of the EU. While one might try to couch a description of Mr De Graaf’s interventions by saying they lacked a certain degree of diplomacy that wouldn’t really do them justice. To be perfectly honest the man was downright rude and confrontational. While not all interactions within ICANN are cordial it’s a very different matter when the official representative of a government body, such as the EU Commission, behaves in this fashion.
While newcomers to the ICANN process might find that it can be confusing, complicated and time-consuming, I’m not really convinced that anything could justify the choice of words employed by de Graaf when he stated that he wasn’t sure if he was “talking to the deaf or stupid”.