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European Commission


Brussels, 5 June 2014

Transport and Telecoms Council: 5-6 June 2014


Progress report on Telecoms Single Market (TSM) regulation (Connected Continent)

Ministers will be invited to take note of a report on the state of play of negotiations on the Commission's proposal to create a #ConnectedContinent, September 2013 (IP/13/828 MEMO/13/779).

On key issues like spectrum, roaming, consumer protection and net neutrality, Vice President Kroes will stress the Commission's proposal is extremely important to protect the consumer while ensuring proper investment and innovation in the digital economy. She will remind Ministers, just as she said to the European Parliament before it voted its Opinion in April, that the proposals form a balanced package and they should avoid attempts to cherry-pick certain elements of the text.

Vice President Kroes hopes that the Council will address all elements of the Commission's proposal before the summer break so that both co-legislators and the Commission can begin negotiations in trilogues and agree the text under the Italian Presidency. This Council meeting will therefore be important on the way towards defining the Council’s general approach in coming weeks.

Progress report on Network and Information Security (NIS) directive (cyber security for companies)

Vice President Kroes will welcome the progress report on the draft Directive to ensure a high common level of network and information security across the Union (NIS).

The European Commission proposed the NIS directive in February 2013 as part of the EU Cybersecurity Strategy (IP/13/94). The NIS directive would make ICT networks and information systems more secure against cyber attacks and cyber incidents. Also, under the NIS, a business would be required to quickly notify the relevant national authority if there has been a cyber-security incident. Receiving a prompt notification would allow a national regulator to alert other Member States of the problem; and to analyse together the situation and see whether the problem is spreading elsewhere.

The progress report will acknowledge the need to require the Member States to strengthen national capabilities and to set out risk management and transparency requirements at EU level. A strong NIS Directive also means strong cooperation, both strategic and operational. On operational cooperation, the report acknowledges that there are diverging views among the Member States. Vice President Kroes will call on Member States for a commitment to the long-term objective of making operational cooperation a reality.

Agreement on the Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for transactions in the internal market (eIDAS) (First reading)

The eIDAS Regulation (see IP/12/558) will strengthen Europe’s Digital Single Market by boosting trust and convenience in cross-border and cross-sector electronic transactions. It will provide a comprehensive and predictable legal framework for the mutual recognition of electronic identification and electronic trust services – such as electronic signatures, seals, time stamps, registered delivery services, website authentication and electronic documents.

Vice President Kroes will welcome the deal which the Council made with the European Parliament on this file and urge for formal adoption to be finalised as quickly as possible.

Entry into force of measures to reduce the costs of deploying high-speed electronic communication networks (Civil Engineering Directive)

The legislative process for the adoption of the Directive on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks is now completed (see MEMO/14/150). Vice President Kroes will congratulate the Council for having reached a well-balanced deal with the European Parliament on the Directive.

High-speed networks are the backbone of the digital single market and a prerequisite for Europe's competitiveness. These new rules are designed to cut by up to 30% the cost of rolling out high-speed Internet which may save companies €40 to 60 billion and expand high-speed broadband further.

These measures are crucial in giving a new impetus to the fast roll-out of high-speed broadband in Europe and to help achieving the Digital Agenda targets for 2020 (see IP/14/609). Therefore Vice President Kroes will call on the Member States to transpose and implement this Directive as soon as possible, and not wait until the full expiration of the transposition period (1 January 2016).

Update on the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility to public sector bodies' web-sites (First reading)

On 3rd December 2012 the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites (see IP/12/1305). Vice President Kroes will recognise the high work load of the Council but will urge ministers to live up to Europe's accessibility commitments including the Digital Agenda target to make public sector websites accessible to all by 2015 and those in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Presentation of the Digital Agenda Scoreboard

Vice President Kroes will present the recently published Digital Agenda scoreboard which shows the progress made since 2009 (see IP/14/609). She will highlight key findings on Internet usage, online shopping and high-speed broadband availability.

In particular, she will ask Ministers to help SMEs and start-ups to find innovative ways to use the internet to develop new business models, as only 14% of SMEs use the Internet as a sales channel. Vice President Kroes will also call upon Ministers to address the digital skills divide, so that citizens have the right skills to fill digital jobs (see MEMO/14/383).

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