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European Commission - Press release

Digital Agenda: Commission requests Denmark to change rules on financing of universal services

Brussels, 29 September 2011 – The European Commission has decided to formally request Denmark to comply fully with EU rules regarding the financing of basic telecoms services provided to consumers, known as "universal services". In particular, the Commission has asked Denmark to remove maritime emergency services from the list of services which the telecom sector has to bear the cost of providing.

Member States are entitled to add country-specific services, such as maritime emergency services, to the basic list of services laid down in the Universal Service Directive that all telecoms operators must provide. However, Member States cannot require the telecom sector to bear the cost for these additional services.

The Commission's request to Denmark to amend its universal service rules takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures. Denmark now has two months to inform the Commission of measures taken to ensure compliance with EU law. If it fails to do so, the Commission may refer Denmark to the EU's Court of Justice.


The EU's Universal Service Directive requires countries to ensure that basic telecoms services are available to consumers at an affordable price. This includes a safety net of services such as a comprehensive directory of subscribers, public pay telephones, accessibility of such telephones to users with disabilities and the quality of services. The Directive also sets out how universal services should be financed, in order to avoid market distortions and ensure that universal services are provided in the most efficient manner.

Useful links:

For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/646

An overview of telecoms infringement proceedings is available at:

Digital Agenda website:

Contacts :

Jonathan Todd (+32 2 299 41 07)

Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)

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