While welcoming the overall objective of moving towards a single market for electronic communications, members of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) commission for Education, Youth, Culture and Research (EDUC) have warned about the adverse effects that such a far–reaching reform will have on local and regional authorities. EDUC members also note that there has been a lack of public consultation. They therefore call for the proposal to be urgently re-examined and for a more gradual harmonisation of the sector.
On 13 November, the CoR’s EDUC commission unanimously adopted a draft opinion prepared by Frank Zimmermann (PES/Germany), Member of the Berlin House of Representatives, on the European Commission’s ambitious plan to complete the telecoms single market and deliver a “Connected Continent”. The draft opinion underlines that changes to the European legal framework for electronic communications must take due account of the de facto and de jure situation in the Member States and regions.
“The proposed Regulation is premature and does not do justice to the objective set because of considerable hidden problems”, stressed the rapporteur who supports a more gradual harmonisation. He furthermore deplores that the European Commission’s proposal was not submitted to public consultation beforehand to allow all interested parties, including, local and regional authorities, to express their views. The rapporteur is also cautious about the single authorisation procedure for telecoms operators, fearing that it may lead to greater legal uncertainty and to a race to the bottom. He also expresses concerns regarding the further transfer to the EU of competences concerning frequency management. Another issue of concern is net neutrality and the extent to which it can be safeguarded through the provision of special services and the introduction of numerous exceptions. “The choice of a Regulation as a legal instrument is questionable when it comes to frequency management and ensuring net neutrality”, pointed out the rapporteur. He however argued in favour of this legal instrument for regulating roaming charges across the EU but cautioned against the effect upon the cost of domestic calls of the abolition of roaming charges for incoming calls. Here to read more.