Brussels, 12 October 2006
In a new round of proceedings against possible infringements of EU telecoms rules, the European Commission has opened nine new infringement cases against Member States. The Commission is also sending a reasoned opinion, thereby opening the second stage of infringement proceedings, to eight Member States. The majority of cases in this new round concern a failure to complete market reviews to assess the status of competition on national telecom markets or the lack of caller location information to emergency authorities. The Commission also closed 9 cases today, following satisfactory implementation of EU legislation in the Member States concerned.
“The Commission remains vigilant in ensuring that the EU’s regulatory framework for electronic communications is correctly implemented. This is especially crucial as we are currently consulting on the future of this framework,” said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. “It is extremely important that national telecom regulators complete their market analysis so that appropriate remedies are in place if needed to ensure efficient competition, for the benefit of consumers and businesses in the EU. Similarly, the availability of caller location information for the Single European Emergency Number 112 needs to be urgently addressed in all Member States. However, I am pleased to note that we could close 9 cases where progress has been achieved.”
Not all Member States have completed the first round of market reviews under the 2002 regulatory framework and letters of formal notice are being sent to Denmark, Germany, Malta and Portugal. In the case of Estonia and Luxembourg, which have completed only one and four market reviews respectively (out of 18 required), a reasoned opinion is being sent. The case against the Czech Republic is being closed since the review of all 18 relevant markets has been completed.
It is a pre-condition for the proper functioning of the EU regulatory framework on electronic communications that national regulators analyse swiftly and accurately the markets. Only after sound market analysis can competition be assessed and significant market power be identified – pre-conditions for national regulators to impose remedies to ensure effective competition. National regulators were obliged to analyse the 18 markets relevant for electronic communications as soon as possible after the EU regulatory framework entered into force (July 2003 for the “old” Member States and May 2004 for the “new” Member States). Only Commission pressure, and in some cases infringement proceedings, could ensure that now nearly all the relevant markets have in fact been analysed as required in a large majority of EU Member States.
The Commission will also send reasoned opinions to six Member States (Greece, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Italy and Portugal) where caller location information is not provided for all calls to the Single European Emergency Number 112 (see IP/06/464). For Ireland, Cyprus and Luxembourg, the pending proceedings could be closed after national authorities confirmed that caller location information is now available.
In France, a comprehensive directory is now available, so this case has also been closed.
Since number portability is now fully available in Malta, Poland and Slovenia, these three cases have been closed. A letter of formal notice is being sent to Slovakia, as the last Member State where fixed number portability is still lacking – although new legislation had been introduced.
A letter of formal notice is being sent to Germany because the must-carry rules in various federal states (Länder) do not conform with the requirements of the Universal Service Directive.
A new infringement proceeding has been opened against Sweden because only the operator found to have significant market power has a right of appeal against the results of the market review.
A letter of formal notice is being sent to Belgium on universal service financing, and a new proceeding was launched against Luxembourg because the national regulatory authority never verified the incumbent’s cost accounting system or published an annual statement of compliance.
Following formal notification by Greece of its national legislation transposing the ePrivacy Directive, this final non-communication proceeding has now been closed.
A detailed overview of the state of infringement proceedings is available on the DG Information Society and Media’s implementation and enforcement website (http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/implementation_enforcement/index_en.htm#Infringements
See also MEMO/06/371