European Commission - Press release
Digital Agenda: Commission asks Court of Justice to fine five Member States for missing telecom rules implementation deadline
Brussels, 31 May 2012 – The European Commission has decided to refer five Member States - Belgium, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Slovenia - to the EU Court of Justice because they have still not implemented the revised EU telecoms rules into their national laws. The official deadline for doing so was 25 May 2011. The Commission has also suggested the Court impose a daily penalty payment on each Member State (see table below) which would be paid as from the date of the Court's ruling until full transposition of the rules into national law is notified. The other 22 countries which have implemented EU telecoms rules guarantee more competitive markets for consumers and businesses and give EU customers new rights, such as switching their phone operator in one day without changing the number or being informed without delay when their personal data is stolen online (see IP/11/622).
The proposed financial sanctions are:
Under the Lisbon Treaty, the Commission may, upon referral of a Member State for not communicating national measures transposing EU rules, propose financial sanctions to be imposed by the Court of Justice of the European Union. These sanctions take into account the duration and the gravity of the infringement and the size of the Member State concerned.
The new telecoms rules give EU citizens and businesses higher levels of consumer protection and more choice, such as the ability to switch fixed or mobile phone operator without changing phone number within one working day (see MEMO/11/319). These rules also require operators to secure personal data properly and to inform their customers and data protection authorities promptly when personal data is lost. The rules require Internet users to be better informed about data other parties store or access on their devices and improve the tools for fighting spam (see MEMO/11/320). They also ensure more consistent and effective regulation of telecoms markets across Europe (see MEMO/11/321).
The revised EU rules on telecoms networks and services were formally adopted by the European Parliament and Council in late 2009 (MEMO/09/491). The Parliament and Council agreed that the rules must be implemented into the national laws of the 27 Member States by 25th May 2011.
To implement the new rules in full, Member States need to implement two new EU Directives into national law: the Better Regulation Directive and the Citizens' Rights Directive, which together amended five different existing EU Directives (Framework Directive, Access Directive, Authorisation Directive, Universal Service Directive and e-Privacy Directive).
The Commission is taking this action because the Member States concerned have still not completed the legislative process to transpose the rules into national law. The Commission may discontinue the case (s) once those measures have been notified to it.
For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/12/387
Overview of telecoms infringement proceedings
Digital Agenda website: