Council

2835 Meeting Transport, Telcom, Energy

PRES/07/274 Date: 29/11/2007

EU Regulatory Framework for electronic communications networks and services

The Commission presented to the Council its proposals on the review of the regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services.

The Commission's telecoms reform package[1], adopted on 13 November 2007, aims to enable citizens, wherever they live and wherever they travel in the EU, to benefit from better and cheaper communication services, whether they use mobile phones, fast broadband Internet connections or cable TV.

The Commission proposals include the following main features: new consumer rights, more consumer choice through more competition, more security in using communication networks, promoting investment into new communication infrastructures, better regulation in telecoms and more independent watchdogs.

The Commission also plans to establish a European regulator, in the form of the European Electronic Communications Market Authority (EECMA), to serve as its main advisor in all European regulatory affairs. It is also proposed that the current European Network and Information Security Agency will eventually be merged into the EECMA. In addition, the Commission proposes to increase its powers through the right to veto some of the national regulators decisions for remedies.

Moreover, the Commission proposals present functional separation as a possible remedy for the national regulators, i.e. the power to split telecommunications operators that own important parts of the network infrastructure into two companies, in charge of operational business and network management respectively.

Delegations agreed with the objectives of the Commission's proposals. However several Member States expressed their doubts related in particular to the need for a creation of a new European Agency and to the extension of the Commission's competence in terms of regulatory conditions or frequency administration.

The examination of these proposals will start under the Slovenian Presidency.