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Brussels, 29 July 2002

Commission creates Radio Spectrum Policy Group and European Regulators Group

A Radio Spectrum Policy Group and a European Regulators Group were set up by the European Commission today. The two advisory Groups will play a crucial role in assisting the Commission to develop further the Internal Market for the Information Society. Information Society Commissioner Erkki Liikanen said "With the founding of the Radio Spectrum Policy Group, the European Union finally has a platform on which the Member States, the Commission and stakeholders can co-ordinate the use of radio spectrum. This is necessary to implement agreed EU policies and will support the completion of the Internal Market in this area. With the European Regulators Group, we will have a means of ensuring consistent application of the recently adopted rules for electronic communications services throughout the EU".

The Radio Spectrum Policy Group will assist and advise the Commission on radio spectrum policy issues, on co-ordination of policy approaches and, where appropriate, on harmonised conditions with regard to the availability and efficient use of radio spectrum necessary for the establishment and functioning of the Internal Market. Radio spectrum corresponds to radio waves, which allow for example the transmission of mobile and fixed wireless communications. "This is an increasingly important issue. Demand for the use of radio spectrum is increasing as is the contribution to the EU's economy of radio spectrum-based services. It is therefore necessary to carefully consider and balance the availability of radio spectrum for services which ensure the promotion of important sectors such as the Information Society or transport", Commissioner Liikanen said.

The Group will comprise high level representatives from Member States and the Commission as well as observers, including from the European Parliament, EEA (European Economic Area) Members, accession countries, CEPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations) and ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). It will also consult extensively with stakeholders, both commercial and non-commercial, as well as with any other interested parties, in full transparency.

The work of the Group, which will hold its first meeting during the second half of 2002, will be complemented by that of the Radio Spectrum Committee established under the Radio Spectrum Decision. The Group will provide opinions on high level policy matters to assist the Commission in taking policy, regulatory or legislative action, in certain cases in co-operation with the Council and the European Parliament, while the Committee will mainly concentrate on the adoption of technical implementing measures designed to ensure the harmonised availability and efficient use of radio spectrum.

The European Regulators Group will act as an advisory group of independent national regulatory authorities to assist and advise the Commission in consolidating the Internal Market for electronic communications networks and services. In so doing, it will act in a fully transparent way, so that market participants, consumers and end-users are able to input to its activities. It will allow co-operation between national regulatory authorities and the Commission so as to ensure the consistent application in all Member States of the regulatory framework. The Commission will also keep the European Parliament informed on the Group's activities on an annual basis.

The Group will comprise the head(s) of each national regulatory authority responsible for overseeing the day-to-day interpretation and application of the provisions of the Directives relating to electronic communications networks and services. The Commission will be represented. EEA members and accession countries may participate as observers.

The Radio Spectrum Policy Group and the European Regulators Group complement the European Parliament and Council Decision on Radio Spectrum Policy and the Directives for electronic communications, both of which entered into force on 24 April 2002. Creation of these two Groups demonstrates the Commission's determination to move rapidly forward in implementing the new regulatory framework.

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