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European telecoms reform faces delay

The European Commission has said that its proposals to reform of the EU telecoms market are unlikely to gain approval before September or October 2014

Further restrictions on European roaming charges are now likely to be introduced in September or October, rather than July as originally planned. In its initial proposals to reform the EU telecoms market, the European Commission intended to ban incoming call charges for roaming citizens within the region by July 1st 2014.

“We won’t have the sign off from the national governments of the EU member states in July,” an EC spokesman told to Telecoms.com. “It’ll certainly be in 2014, but it’s much more likely we’ll see it finalised in September and October.”

The spokesman said that the EC is confident that the package will remain intact structurally but admitted that it is likely that there will be some compromises made on its way to gaining approval from EU committees and member state governments.

“It won’t look exactly how we wrote it, but we’re confident that it will stay roughly together the way we wanted it and that we’ll get it finished by October,” he said.

“We’re not too concerned if that’s a little bit delayed, what matters is that we get the final agreement and we’re on track to do that in September.”

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The proposals are already fully supported by the EC and in the next stage, they will be sent to the European Parliament, where various committees will examine them and offer suggestions and amendments. Then in April 2014, all 700 MEPs will take a vote on the proposals. The proposals will then be sent on to member state governments.

“The first real step is April when you get the full parliament giving a vote,” said the spokesman. “Then you know exactly what you’re negotiating with with the member states. They will then carry out those negotiations over the two months that follow.”

A qualified majority of member states – 20 out of the 28 – must vote for the proposals for them to gain approval, and the member states will decide between them when the vote will take place. The EC claims this is likely to happen at a meeting in September or October.

Once the proposals are approved, it will officially become EU law, and member states will have to fully implement the proposals.


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