Brussels, 8 July 2008
"I welcome the positive signal of progress that the European Parliament
has given with its vote yesterday. The EU Telecoms Reform is of great importance
for the strengthening of a Single Telecoms Market to the benefit of both
operators and consumers," said Viviane Reding, the EU Telecoms Commissioner.
"I would like to thank the responsible rapporteurs in the ITRE Committee,
Catherine Trautmann (France, PES) and Pilar del Castillo Vera (Spain, EPP-ED)
and in the IMCO Committee, Malcolm Harbour (United Kingdom, EPP-ED), for their
constructive work. Consensus on the Telecoms Package is needed to strengthen
effective competition on the telecoms markets and the competitiveness of the EU
as a whole. Yesterday evening's endorsement of functional separation as a new
tool for telecoms regulation is therefore good news as it will enable national
regulators to address cases of persistent competition bottlenecks.
On spectrum reform, some progress has been made, even though I would have wished the Parliament Committees to be more ambitious. Radio spectrum is a very valuable economic and societal resource, and a more efficient and consistent management of spectrum would help us achieving a Europe with 'broadband for all'. I will therefore continue to work on this with the European Parliament and the Council in the coming weeks so that further progress can be made before September.
Finally, many questions remain open as regards the new institutional structure that, in view of the Parliament Committees, should be responsible for EU Telecoms regulation from 2010 onwards. I welcome the good intentions behind the idea of creating a new Body of European Regulators for Telecommunications (BERT). However, businesses and consumers in Europe are interested in results, not in lengthy procedures. I have doubts whether BERT and the heavy Article 7-procedure now created will be able to deliver coherent regulatory responses to the regulatory obstacles still far too present in Europe's single telecoms market. Questions remain especially as regards the financing of the new Body as well as its capability to arrive swiftly and efficiently at common positions. Here, a lot of further work is indispensable."
The main outcomes of yesterday's vote:
The European Commission tabled its proposals for the reform of the Telecoms Reform Package in November 2007 (IP/07/1677). Since then, the Council of Telecoms Ministers has had a chance to express its views on the Commission proposals (MEMO/07/522, MEMO/08/384); it is now for the European Parliament to give its views.
3 September 2008: Vote on the EU Telecoms Reform Proposals in the European Parliament's plenary.
27 November 2008: the Council of Telecoms Ministers could, under French Presidency pave the way for finalising the legislative texts.
For more information:
Parliament's Press Release on yesterday's vote:
"Progress Made on the EU Telecoms Reform Package", Statement by EU Commissioner Reding after the Council of EU Telecoms Ministers on 12 June