Digital Agenda: Commission starts legal action against 20 Member States on late implementation of telecoms rules


The European Commission has sent requests for information to twenty EU Member States which have not yet notified measures to implement in full new EU telecoms rules into national law. The deadline set by the European Parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers for implementing the new rules was 25th May 2011. The requests for information take the form of letters of formal notice under EU infringement procedures. The new rules give businesses and consumers new rights regarding phones, mobile services and Internet access. These include the right for customers to switch telecoms operators in just one day without changing their phone number, the right to more clarity about the services customers are offered and better protection of personal data online. New oversight powers for the European Commission and regulatory powers for the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) will create more regulatory certainty and help telecoms operators to grow in a single, pan-European telecoms market (see IP/11/622 MEMO/11/319, MEMO/11/320 and MEMO/11/321). Swift and consistent implementation of these rules is a priority of the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200). However, while legislative processes are ongoing in all EU Member States and a majority of them have informed the Commission of some implementation measures, only seven Member States (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the UK) have notified the Commission that they have implemented the new rules in full. The twenty other Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain) are due to reply to the ‘letters of formal notice’ within two months. If they fail to reply or if it is not satisfied with the answer, the Commission can send the Member States concerned a formal request to implement the legislation (in the form of a ‘reasoned opinion’ under EU infringement procedures), and ultimately refer them to the Court of Justice of the European Union. Here to read more.

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