EC reformulates legislative package on electronic communications

Following the results of the vote on 24 September 2008 on the first reading in the European Parliament (EP), on 7 November the European Commission (EC) presented the new texts of the legislative package reforming the electronic communications sector, which was launched on 13 November 2007.

Accordingly, subsequent to the proposals of the EP, the EC proposed the creation of the ''Body of European Telecoms Regulator'' but with a smaller size and a more limited remit than originally proposed. The Body will be supported by a subsidy from the Community and by voluntary contributions by national regulatory authorities (NRA), from which national experts will be seconded to provide half of the new Body’s personnel. The chairpersons of the NRA will also have an important role, not only in the nomination of the director-general but also in the Body's management.

The EC also opted to limit the remit of the new Body in questions related to the spectrum and network security, abandoning, in this case, the proposed merger of ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency)

The amended proposal also involves the process of implementing corrective measures, in respect of which a direct and efficient participation of the new Body will be ensured, as well as the strengthening of the strategic coordination of radio spectrum policy, with the creation of a multi-year programme to be adopted jointly by the Parliament and by the Council.  In the meantime, the frequency usage rights are now clearly focused on pan-European services, as proposed by the EP.

Note should also be made of the Commission proposal to provide more detailed regulatory guidelines in 2009 with respect to next generation access networks, subsequent to the position taken by the EP to strengthen rules applicable to investment in the high-speed broadband networks, rejecting all calls for ''regulatory holidays''.

The EC also accepted the proposal of the EP according to which the fundamental rights and freedoms of European citizens may not be restricted in the absence of a prior judicial decision, except where there is a risk to public safety.

The new proposals of the EC will now be discussed at the meeting of the Council of Telecommunication Ministers scheduled for 27 November, while the vote on the second reading in the European Parliament is expected in April 2009.

More info: