Brussels, 14 May 2009
Caller location information is still not available to emergency services from all mobile 112 calls in Italy, as required by EU rules, despite a judgement from the European Court of Justice in January calling on Italy to make this happen. The Commission has today decided to send a letter of formal notice to Italy requesting it to comply with the judgement and to ensure that caller location information is available to emergency services for all 112 calls. Italy could be fined if the case proceeds to the European Court of Justice again.
"The provision of caller location information to emergency services is crucial for the effective functioning of Europe’s single emergency number 112," said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding. "Most Member States have already introduced it and there is no reason why Italy cannot also implement this truly vital service for its citizens. The Commission has to pursue the infringement proceeding against Italy to ensure that the European Court of Justice judgement is followed and because the availability of caller location information is an emergency tool which can help save lives.”
On 15 January 2009, the European Court of Justice ruled that Italy failed to make 112 caller location information available to authorities handling emergencies for all calls. Caller location information is not yet available to emergency services throughout Italy for calls made to 112 from mobile phones, except in the province of Salerno.
The Commission noted steps taken by the Italian authorities to ensure availability of caller location information for 112. Nevertheless, it calls on the Italian Government to accelerate the implementation of caller location information for all calls made to 112 throughout the country. If Italy does not respond to this call for improvement within two months, it runs the risk of being fined for not respecting the Court's judgment.
The provision of caller location information to emergency services for 112 calls contributes to the safety of European citizens. Italian and other European citizens, when at home or travelling as tourists or for professional reasons in other EU countries, must be able to rely on the ability of Italian emergency services to locate them when they make a call and cannot themselves provide details of their location for dispatching help.
Under the EU's Universal Service Directive (Article 26), Member States have an obligation to guarantee the proper functioning of the single European emergency number 112. This includes making sure caller location information is available to emergency authorities for all calls made to 112.
In total, the Commission has launched infringement proceedings against 14 Member States regarding 112 caller location. 11 of those cases have been closed as the Member States remedied the situation and caller location information became fully available. Apart from Italy, the European Court of Justice has also issued judgments ruling that Lithuania and the Netherlands have not complied with EU law requirements regarding 112 caller location and these cases are also pending.
In addition, the Commission has in the past also launched infringement proceedings against two other Member States for failure to ensure availability of 112 as the number for calling emergency services. The last case concerning Bulgaria was closed on 29 January this year and 112 is now available throughout the EU (IP/08/1968). Finally, another case was launched against Italy in September 2008 regarding the handling of calls to 112 (IP/08/1342).
The European Commission has decided, under Article 228 of the EC Treaty, to send a letter of formal notice asking Italy for full information on its compliance with the January judgment of the European Court of Justice. If the Italian authorities still do not comply, the Commission will send a reasoned opinion to the Italian government and, ultimately, can ask the Court to impose a penalty payment.
A detailed overview of telecoms infringement proceedings is available at: