As part of the general reform being undertaken within the CEPT, specifically the changes to the former ERC and ECTRA, whose functions have been merged to form the Electronic Communications Committee, and in order to increase efficiency, it was decided to replace the ERO and ETO Offices with a single European Communications Office (ECO). As well as the functions of each of the existing Offices, it was decided during the restructuring of the CEPT in 2001 that the new Office will have a new role in supporting the strengthened CEPT presidency.
The new single office can take advantage of synergies between the two former Offices, the benefits of which started to be felt in 2003 when the two Offices took a shared location, the functions of the Director and Vice-Director, as well their support activities, were merged and the respective Councils began to meet jointly.
The formalisation of this new structure is, however, more complex than the restructuring of the CEPT itself, since the Offices have a more solid legal basis (Convention and Memorandum of Understanding - MoU), with specific procedures governing alterations.
The option chosen to formalise the intended reform consists in enacting a process of ''amendment'' to the ERO convention in order to cover the areas presently governed by the MoU/Convention of the ETO, as well as the new functions that are to incorporated. It is further to be decided whether the Office should be likewise dedicated to postal issues - remit of the European Committee for Postal Regulation (CERP).
The amendments to be made to the Convention of the ERO having been approved at the Board meeting of this Office on 9 April 2002, they were recognized with the signing on 17 December 2002 of the instrument giving approval to the amendments to the ERO Convention by twenty-one of the twenty-nine subscribers to the Convention - Portugal is included in the first group of countries which have confirmed these amendments in writing, with a joint signing ceremony.
With the conclusion of all the processes of ratification, acceptance and approval of the amendments by the 29 signatories, the Convention for the Establishment of the European Communications Office (ECO) finally enters into force on 1 March 2013.
- European Communications Office http://www.cept.org/eco/