Gerard de Graaf

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Country: Netherlands
Facebook: Facebook.png   [Gerard de Graaf Gerard de Graaf]

Gerard de Graaf is Head of Unit for the coordination of the Europe 2020 Strategy in the European Commission’s Secretariat-General. Besides Europe 2020 Strategy, his unit also manages Digital Agenda, Innovation Union, an Industrial Policy for the globalisation age and a program called “New Skills for New Jobs”. He was appointed to this job in 2005.[1] He is also Director in charge of Audiovisual, Media and Internet Directorate General of Information Society and Media.[2]

He lives in the Netherlands with his wife and two children.


Mr. de Graaf is the new representative of European Commission on the GAC.[3]Mr. Graaf does not approve of ICANN's new gTLD policy. He is of the view that there is a risk of violating European competition laws.[4] At ICANN 41, he and a UK GAC representative were constantly trying to convince ICANN to immediately implement EU policies in the new TLD program.[5] Many ICANN regulars were taken aback by his behavior, especially given his now infamous remarks of questioning whether he was "talking to the deaf or stupid" in reference to the ICANN Board.[6]

He also warned ICANN that it was not ready to remove its vertical separation of registrar and registry functions, which it took steps to do in 2011.[7]

It seems Gerard de Graaf was influential in issuing the European Commission's 6 policy papers of 2011, which many have interpreted as a new effort by governments to control the functioning and architecture of the Internet, or at least exercise significantly more power over ICANN. This stance, which has been associated with prior Internet Governance efforts, has been interpreted by commentators, such as Kieren McCarthy, as symptomatic of Gerard de Graaf's lack of ICANN related expertise.[8] Commentator Milton Mueller argued that the 6 papers were a revenge of sorts for the way in which Mr. de Graaf's proposals and position were snubbed at his first ICANN appearance as the EC GAC representative at ICANN 41.[9]

Career History

Mr. Graaf started his career in the private sector and then worked at the Secretariat-General of the Benelux Economic Union. Later, in 1991, he joined the European Commission and worked on procurement policies, after some time he became private assistant to the Director-General. He was Trade Counselor at the Commission’s Delegation to the United States in Washington, D.C.. From 2001 to 2005, Gerard de Graaf was Head of the Policy Unit in the Directorate General Internal Market.[10]


He is a representative of Management Board of ENISA.[11] Mr. de Graaf is the new representative of European Commission on the GAC.[12] He attended World Bank Knowledge Economy Forum IX in Berlin, Germany on May 6, 2010.[13]


Gerard de Graaf studied Social Geography and Regional Planning at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and European Studies at the Catholic University in Leuven (Belgium).[14]