Brussels, 30 May 2013
Digital Agenda: Commission refers Estonia to EU Court of Justice over independence of national telecoms regulator
The European Commission has decided to refer Estonia to the Court of Justice of the EU over its national law which does not guarantee the impartiality of the national telecoms regulator. According to EU telecoms rules, national authorities exercising regulatory tasks cannot at the same time be involved in the ownership or control of telecoms companies.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in Estonia carries out some regulatory tasks, in particular over the allocation of radio frequencies and procedures for granting frequency authorisations. At the same time it exercises control of the state-owned company Levira Ltd, the largest TV and radio broadcast network operator in Estonia, which provides telecoms services such as broadcasting and wireless broadband access.
The Commission sent Estonia a formal request to comply with EU rules in June 2012 (IP/12/630) but Estonia has not adapted its national law to guarantee the impartiality of the telecoms regulator and this can have negative consequences for competition in the sector.
This infringement proceeding is part of the European Commission’s efforts to ensure that national telecoms regulators are independent
Article 3(2) of the Telecoms Framework Directive 2002/21/EC provides that Member States that retain ownership or control companies providing telecommunications services must ensure effective structural separation of the regulatory function from activities associated with ownership or control.
On the May infringement package decisions, see MEMO/13/470
On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12
For more information on infringement procedures:
Overview of telecoms infringement proceedings