New EU telecoms regulator gets to work
Date: Fri, 01/29/2010 - 12:44
Yesterday marks the start of a new era for telecoms in the EU. The telecoms regulators of the 27 EU countries will meet for the first time in Brussels as members of the new Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). The new European telecoms regulator BEREC has been established following the adoption by the Council and Parliament of the new EU Telecoms rules in December 2009
With 12 fixed and 10 mobile telecoms companies offering services in many other EU Member States and hundreds of service providers operating across borders, BEREC will play a crucial role in strengthening the single telecoms market and consistent regulation across Europe. Assisted by an office with expert staff, the new European telecoms regulatory body will in particular help ensure fair competition in the single telecoms market. In 2008, Europe's telecoms sector revenues accounted for €351 billion.
“The establishment of the EU telecoms regulator is an important milestone for telecoms in Europe," said Viviane Reding, the EU's Telecoms Commissioner who proposed the creation of the body in 2007. “Indeed, Parliament, Council and the Commission all agreed that Europe's Single Telecoms Market needs BEREC. The new body will help national telecoms regulators and the European Commission to provide consistent rules and competitive conditions across the EU. This will boost European telecoms services, which are evolving rapidly in areas like mobile internet and can become a major driver of economic recovery in Europe.”
"The first meeting of BEREC will be a step in the right direction for a more competitive telecoms market in Europe. I look forward to seeing real progress in developing further the European single market in telecoms and, in particular, to the positive impact that it will have for Europe's 500 million citizens," said Neelie Kroes, the EU Competition Commissioner.
The new European telecoms body BEREC will give important expert opinions on the functioning of the telecoms market in the EU. BEREC will also advise, support and complement the independent work of national telecoms regulators, especially when it comes to regulatory decisions with cross-border aspects.
BEREC is made up of the heads of the 27 national telecoms regulators and is assisted by an office that provides the necessary professional and administrative support to BEREC's work. Most decisions will be taken by two-thirds majority and by simple majority when BEREC gives opinions in the context of the Commission's analysis of measures notified to the European Commission by national regulators.
BEREC replaces the "European Regulators Group", a loose grouping of national regulators that could operate on the basis of consensus alone and was not integrated into the EU's regulatory process.
A decision on the definitive seat of the BEREC office still has to be taken and will require agreement between the governments of all 27 Member States. Until that moment, BEREC will be provisionally located in Brussels.
As a result of the EU telecoms reform (MEMO/09/568), 500 million EU citizens can today benefit from more consumer choice through enhanced competition on Europe’s telecoms markets, with better coverage over fast internet broadband connections across the EU, and from a stronger entrenchment of their right to privacy in their telecommunications. While the new telecoms regulator BEREC is takes up its functions today, the implementation of the whole telecoms reform package into national legislations in the 27 EU Member States is due by June 2011.