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Brussels, 27 November 2008
Following the Telecoms Council's deliberations this afternoon, Viviane Reding, the EU Telecoms Commissioner, commented on the Roaming II Agreement: "I welcome the Council of Telecoms Ministers' early endorsement of the Commission's proposal to reduce consumer charges for sending text messages and downloading data via their mobile phones while abroad. This shows that where there is a common will, there is a swift EU way for action in the telecoms sector. Thanks to the diplomatic efforts of the French Presidency, namely of Secretary of State Luc Chatel, Ministers have answered the Commission's call for a speedy response to the SMS and data roaming rip-off very positively. I look forward to discussing with the European Parliament – which is co-deciding on the new roaming rules with the Council – how best to protect European businessmen, tourists, students and other travellers from excessive SMS and data roaming charges. I am confident that with Parliament we will ensure that consumers travelling in the EU will save money when sending texts and surfing the web with a mobile phone as of 1 July 2009. This would send a clear message of consensus that the EU's single market is there to serve European citizens as well as businesses."
On 23 September 2008, the Commission proposed a new Roaming Regulation that substantially cuts the cost of sending text messages and using mobile data services abroad in the EU, as well as extends the duration of the current Regulation of voice roaming charges from 2010 to 2013 (IP/08/1386, MEMO/08/578). The Council adopted a general approach on this proposal this morning, endorsing all elements of the Commission proposal. It is now for the European Parliament to take a position on this important consumer issue.
For a detailed agenda of today's Telecoms Council, see MEMO/08/739.