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Brussels, 8 December 2000

Commission reviews results of World Radiocommunications Conference 2000

The European Commission has adopted a Communication reviewing the most significant results achieved at the World Radio Communications Conference 2000 (WRC-2000), the United Nations forum within which the radio frequency spectrum is allocated globally. The Commission is satisfied with the results obtained by Europe and will seek to ensure an equally successful global conference in 2003.

The allocation of radio frequencies essential to new systems such as third generation mobile communications (IMT-2000, known in Europe as UMTS), satellite radio navigation (GALILEO) and satellite broadcasting was the subject of negotiations at the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-2000), held in Istanbul in May-June 2000. The objective of the European Union (EU) at WRC-2000 was to secure sufficient radio spectrum in order to make Community initiatives in such areas viable (see IP/00/572).

This Communication assesses the extent to which the results of the Conference reinforce EU policy objectives and identifies the impact and next steps. The overall assessment of the outcome of WRC-2000 is positive: important new systems supported by the EU, such as IMT-2000/UMTS and GALILEO, will have the additional radio spectrum needed for satisfactory operation in the future.

Mr Erkki Liikanen, EU Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society, said: The encouraging results of WRC-2000 have provided a solid platform for these new wireless applications of great commercial and social importance to Europe to move forward, unhindered by insufficient radio spectrum. It is now up to all the actors involved in these projects to continue their efforts to turn these innovative applications into reality. The EU must work towards achieving a comparable positive outcome at the next World Radiocommunications Conference in 2003.

Ms Loyola de Palacio stressed "the great importance of the WRC conference: even if we will have to confirm some technical conditions in 2003, which should optimise the system we are currently developing, we can say that the Istanbul conference made possible the GALILEO take-off."

The EU, as represented by the Commission, counseled CEPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications administrations), the organization comprising of the Member States and 28 other European countries, which prepared European common proposals before negotiating their adoption with other countries at the Conference.

The positive result at WRC-2000 demonstrates the strength of the Conference co-ordination process which benefits from the political input of the EU. A co-ordinated implementation of the WRC Decisions at EU level is a useful tool to achieve the objectives the WRC. A new regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the EU has therefore been proposed by the Commission(1).

(1) COM(2000)407 (Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Decision on a regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the European Community) - see also IP/00/751

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