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Brussels, 16 April 2003

Commission underlines EU objectives for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2003

The European Commission has adopted a Communication setting out the EU priorities and objectives for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03). This Conference, organised periodically by the International Telecommunication Union, will next take place in Geneva from 9 June to 4 July 2003, with the objective of updating the allocation and other usage conditions of the radio spectrum at global level. By determining their access to the radio spectrum, the WRC-03 negotiations are potentially critical to the realisation of key EU policies and initiatives such as the Information Society (3G mobile communications, radio local area networks) and Transport (the Galileo satellite radio-navigation system). The Communication invites the European Parliament and the Council to call upon Member States to actively support the European proposals prepared in view of the Conference by the European Conference of Posts and Telecommunications administrations (CEPT) against the background of EU policy objectives.

As in previous WRC conferences, the implementation of a large number of EU policies increasingly depends upon decisions taken in this forum. "It is important that the results of this conference support EU policies in key areas such as 3G, RLANs and Galileo. It is therefore essential that the Member States and the Presidency ensure that these EU policy objectives are fostered by decisions at this Conference", said Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society.

EU policy objectives for WRC-03

WRC-03 agenda includes a series of topics that are relevant to EU policies. The main EU objectives to be reached in WRC-03 are:

  • Protecting the spectrum allocations granted by WRC-2000 to IMT-2000 (3rd generation mobile communications) and confirming the spectrum usage conditions for radio-navigation services envisaged for GALILEO;

  • Making progress towards regionally and globally harmonised frequencies for PPDR (Public Protection and Disaster Relief) systems, in order to help security and emergency teams communicate with each other in the future;

  • Supporting the spectrum needs of alternative wireless infrastructure platforms. A globally harmonised status for radio local area networks (RLAN) is essential for this promising technology. At the same time, European consumers will benefit from the provision of increased competition in the market place via other communication platforms (such as fixed and mobile satellite services, broadband services in aircraft and high altitude platform stations).

Strengthening Europe's position at WRC-03

Unlike for other international negotiations, such as e.g. in trade issues under the WTO, European Union Member States negotiate in ITU on a national basis. However, since national interests often converge, European administrations choose to develop their technical positions together within CEPT.

Strengthening EU position at WRC-03 greatly benefits from the preparation of technical European positions by CEPT but also requires co-ordination of positions at EU level before and during the conference, along the lines set by the new EU Radio Spectrum Decision and other procedures agreed by the Council.

The Communication aims at offering Member States' delegations to WRC-03 clear political guidance on EU objectives to reach during the negotiations. Consequently, the European Parliament and Council are invited to:

  • endorse the policy objectives to be achieved in WRC-03 in the context of the relevant EU policies;

  • endorse the relevant European proposals prepared by CEPT and urge Member States to support these proposals and if need be, to adapt their positions coherently throughout the Conference, while taking into due account throughout WRC-03 EU policy objectives identified by the Commission.

The Communication is available at:

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