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Electronic Communications: Commission takes further step in enforcement action against seven Member States

Commission Européenne - IP/03/1750   17/12/2003

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IP/03/1750

Brussels, 17 December 2003

Electronic Communications: Commission takes further step in enforcement action against seven Member States

After the passing of the deadline for implementation of the new regulatory framework for electronic communications, the European Commission opened in early October infringement proceedings against eight Member States for failure to notify transposition measures (see IP/03/1356). The Commission has now followed up on this action by sending Reasoned Opinions to seven of those Member States, which have still not implemented the regulatory framework into their national legislation. The Member States concerned are Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal. Spain recently notified the Commission of its implementation of the Directives in question and the infringement proceeding against it has therefore been closed.

Erkki Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, said: "In taking this second step in our infringement procedure, we are determined to maintain pressure on Member States which have still not complied with their obligations to transpose the new framework. We must ensure that everyone consumers, businesses and those providing electronic communications services can actually benefit from the forward looking regulatory environment now put in place. We urgently need the new regulations to be consistently applied across the EU."

The Member States, acting in the Council and supported by the European Parliament, set themselves a deadline in the legislation of 24 July 2003 for the transposition of the main provisions of the new framework.

As of 6 October 2003, seven countries had taken the necessary action to incorporate the Framework, Authorisations, Access and Universal Service Directives into national law. Infringement proceedings under Article 226 of the Treaty were therefore opened against the remaining Member States: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal, which had not then notified the Commission of transposition measures. Subsequently Spain notified its transposition measures and as a result the infringement proceeding against that country has been closed.

On 18 November 2003, the European Parliament requested that the infringement proceedings against those Member States which had not transposed the new regulatory package into national law be concluded as quickly as possible (see IP/03/1572) (1).

The sending of Reasoned Opinions to the remaining Member States is the second stage in the infringement proceedings. The Member States have two months in which to respond. The next step will be the referral of those Member States which have still not complied with their notification requirements to the European Court of Justice.

Background

The European Parliament and Council adopted in March 2002 the main elements of a new package of regulation designed for more competitive markets and converging electronic communications technologies (see IP/02/259 and IP/03/1121).

The directives concerned were required to be transposed into national law not later than 24 July 2003. The new framework also provides that Member States shall apply those national transposition measures from 25 July 2003(2), on which date the previous Community instruments which are superseded by those elements of the new framework were repealed.

The deadline for transposition of the e-Privacy Directive (see IP/03/1015), another important element of the new framework, was 31 October 2003. Earlier this month the Commission launched infringement proceedings against nine Member States for failure to notify transposition measures in relation to that Directive (see IP/03/1663).

The Commission continues actively to promote the implementation in the Member States of the new regulatory framework, through a variety of means including where necessary the pursuit of infringement proceedings.

For information on the current regulatory framework please see:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/topics/ecomm/all_about/todays_framework/index_en.htm

For information on the implementation of this regulatory framework, please see:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/topics/ecomm/all_about/implementation_enforcement/index_en.htm

(1) European Parliament resolution on the Eighth Report from the Commission on the implementation of the Telecommunications Regulatory Package, adopted on 18 November 2003, A5-0376/2003.

(2)See for example Article 28 Framework Directive. Member States have until 31 October 2003 to transpose the requirements of Directive 2002/58/EC on privacy and electronic communications into national law.


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