Brussels, 16 October 2008
Today the European Commission closed an infringement case against Poland for the lack of availability of caller location after the Polish authorities confirmed that it has been available for calls to the European emergency number 112 since 30 June. Under EU rules, Member States must ensure that operators provide emergency centres with the location of people calling 112 from fixed or mobile phones. This makes it much easier to respond to accidents and emergencies, especially as a survey earlier this year showed that only 53% of Europeans travelling abroad are able to provide the exact location of emergencies when they call 112 (IP/08/198). The case was opened in 2006 because caller location information was not available for 112 calls made from mobile phones.
"I am pleased to close the 112 case against Poland now that it has introduced a system for providing caller location information to emergency services. European citizens should be able to count on the ability of emergency services to locate them when they call 112 without knowing where, or how to explain where, they are. When their lives and health are at risk getting help from emergency services should be as easy as '1+1=2', whether they are at home or abroad in the EU,” said Viviane Reding, the EU Telecoms Commissioner. "I now urge the remaining Member States where problems with 112 still exist to ensure that caller location functions properly as a matter of urgency.”
EU Telecoms rules require Member States to make sure that people can call the single European emergency number 112 free of charge nationwide from any type of phone (fixed or mobile). They must also ensure that 112 calls are answered and handled efficiently and that operators provide information on the caller's location to emergency services.
The Commission opened an infringement case against Poland in December 2006 as caller location was not available for 112 calls from mobile phones (IP/06/1798). This February, it suspended its previous decision to refer the case to the European Court of Justice having been informed by the Polish authorities that interim measures had been put in place allowing emergency services to obtain caller location information (IP/08/358).
In response to the infringement proceeding, Poland has now set up a caller location system allowing emergency services to retrieve caller location information for 112 calls from special websites set up by mobile phone operators. In July 2008, Polish authorities informed the Commission that caller location was available for all types of calls, throughout the country. The Commission verified this with all mobile network operators and the case can now be closed.
Since 2006, the Commission has launched infringement proceedings for lack of caller location against 14 Member States. Nine of the caller location cases have now been closed having being remedied (see table below). The European Court of Justice has already ruled on three 112 infringement cases, finding a breach of EU law because caller location information was only partially available in Slovakia (Judgment of 25 July 2008), and not available at all for 112 calls from mobile phones in Lithuania (Judgment of 11 September 2008) and the Netherlands (9 October 2008). One more case on lack of caller location information (Italy) is currently before the Court.
The European emergency number 112 was introduced in 1991, in addition to national emergency numbers, to make emergency services more accessible in all EU Member States. Since 1998, EU rules require Member States to ensure that all fixed and mobile phone users can call 112 free of charge. Since 2003, telecoms operators must provide caller location information to emergency services.
Last month the Commission opened a case against Italy over the effectiveness of its handling and answering of 112 calls. It also decided to refer Bulgaria (for lack of 112 availability nation-wide) and Romania (for lack of caller location information) to the European Court of Justice but granted both countries an execution delay of 3 month (IP/08/1342).
For the other infringement proceedings under the EU telecoms rules in this round see IP/08/1526. A detailed overview of telecoms infringement proceedings is available at:
Situation as of 9 October 2008
State of infringement proceedings concerning