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Brussels, 27 November 2008
Telecoms Council: Commission sees improved Council position on the EU Telecoms Reform as good basis for negotiations with the European Parliament
Following the Telecoms Council's deliberations this morning, Viviane Reding, the EU Telecoms Commissioner, commented on the Council's results for the EU Telecoms Reform as follows: "There was a constructive crisis this morning at the Council meeting, as several delegations felt that the Council text agreed so far was not ambitious enough. I applaud Secretary of State Luc Chatel for having resolved this crisis with skill and a pro-European intention. The new text now agreed by Ministers is an improvement compared with the initial text of this morning, even though I continue to believe that Europe's telecoms sector requires better rules than those now on the table here. Nevertheless, the new Council text is a basis now for the negotiations between Council and the European Parliament, which co-decides on the EU-Telecoms Reform. However, if we want to reach an agreement under this Parliament, all three institutions – Parliament, Council and Commission – must sit down together without delay and get down to work on a common approach. Europe has no time to lose: our operators need a single market for telecoms; our rich spectrum resources need to be managed more effectively in the interests of our economy and the goal of 'broadband for all' – especially in these difficult economic times; and European consumers should have a clear bill of rights. I therefore ask the French Presidency to call a meeting of the three institutions early in December. Only this can pave the way for a second reading agreement in spring 2009."
In November 2007, the Commission proposed a package of reforms to EU rules to guarantee greater consistency in the European telecoms market and enable EU citizens to benefit from better, cheaper and more secure communication services (IP/07/1677; IP/07/1678). The European Parliament voted, in first reading, on the entire reform package in its plenary session on 24 September 2008 (MEMO/08/581). The Commission, taking into account most of the amendments proposed by Parliament, presented a modified proposal on 7 November (IP/08/1661). Today, the Council had an opportunity to form its opinion on the EU Telecoms reform at ministerial level. To become law, the telecoms reform requires agreement between the European Parliament and the Council.
For a detailed agenda of today's Telecoms Council, see MEMO/08/739.