Telecommunications - Results of the Council of Ministers of 27.05.2011

A meeting of the Council of Ministers of the European union (EU) has taken place in Brussels, with discussions focusing on spectrum issues, including the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) next World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-12), which is scheduled to take place in Geneva from 23 January to 17 February 2012.  Other issues discussed included information security and e-Government.

At the Council meeting, which took place on 27 May 2011, the EU Hungarian presidency presented a report on the progress achieved in terms of the European Commission’s proposal to create the first radio spectrum policy programme (RSPP).  The report identifies the points subject to a high level of agreement and underlined that there were a series of questions where there was agreement in principle, but where more discussion is likely, both within the Council as well as in the forthcoming negotiations with the European Parliament, which adopted its first reading at the beginning of May 2011.  Work on the RSPP will continue during the next EU presidency, to be taken over by Poland.

At this session, the Council adopted a regulation extending the current mandate of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) for a further 18 months, until 13 September 2013. It also took note of the progress report on a draft regulation regarding a new modernised mandate for ENISA.

The Ministers adopted conclusions on the WRC-12, in which the Commission’s communication of April 2011 on the topic was welcomed, and which support objectives to be achieved in view of the successful implementation of relevant EU policies, which rely on radio spectrum availability. These policy objectives relate in particular to the following areas: the digital dividend, short-range devices, air traffic management systems, broadcasting satellite services, software defined radio and cognitive radios, electronic news gathering, scientific services and spectrum requirements for systems such as Galileo.

The Council also adopted conclusions on critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP), in agreement with the EC’s Communication on CIIP, approved on 31 March 2011, and underlined the importance of developing National/Governmental Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) and elaborating national cyber incident contingency plans, as well as the organisation of national cyber exercises.

The council went on to adopt conclusions on e-Government.  As well as supporting the EC’s e-government action plan 2011-2015, the ministers invited member states to take steps to increase the use of e-government services to 50% of EU citizens and 80% of EU businesses by 2015.

Finally, the Council revised the directive on hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment, extending protection from dangerous chemicals to more electrical appliances and improving the safety of products such as mobile phones, refrigerators and electronic toys.  Meanwhile the Commission presented to the Council its communication on net neutrality.

Further information: