In the 1980's the governments of Europe were largely opposed to the adoption of the TCP/IP networking model for their government funded computer networks. TCP/IP was funded and developed by the U.S. Department of Defense in the 1970's and 1980's. The inventors of TCP/IP were Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. European governments typically favoured the adoption of the ISO networking standard. Therefore, in the 1970's and 1980's, there were very few IP (Internet Protocol) networks in Europe, and no overall organisation to manage the development of IP networks in Europe.
However, during the 1980's, CERN decided to build an external computer network, and decided to adopt the TCP/IP networking model for it. CERN were the first 'large scale' European research organisation to adopt TCP/IP. Due to the expansion of IP networks in Europe (CERN et al) the first meeting of the Coordinating Committee for Intercontinental Research Network (CCIRN) was held in Geneva in 1988. This committee included Vint Cerf, and the heads of important European and North American IP networks. The focus of the committee was to discuss how to interconnect continental (European and North American) IP networks. One of the conclusions of the meeting was that a European organisation needed to be created to manage the assignment of Internet numbers for Europe. IANA had overall authority for Internet number assignment, but it would delegate regional responsibility to a new European organisation.
In 1989, the Réseaux IP Européens (RIPE) organisation was founded (22/05/89); which in English means the organisation for 'European IP Networks'. The primary policy of this organisation was the assignment and management of Internet numbers: IP addresses and Autonomous System (AS) Numbers. Just as with other Internet organisations, RIPE conducts one or two meetings per year, and the meetings are usually comprised of the managers of the major European IP networks. RIPE also creates working groups to develop software systems for policies decided at RIPE meetings.