Council waters down deal on telecoms package

After a fierce debate, EU telecoms ministers reached agreement yesterday (27 November) on a review of rules governing electronic communications, scrapping many “ambitious” proposals made by the European Commission.Despite the interruption of the morning session to revert to bilateral negotiations, a deal was reached following negotiating efforts by the French EU Presidency. In the end, the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands abstained, and Italy approved the conclusions despite reservations.Insititutional negotiations begin today ahead of a second reading in the European Parliament expected in April 2009. Final adoption is expected by mid-2009. see:
EU Telecoms Ministers Back Watered-down Legal Reforms [IDG]
Plans to reform Europe’s legal landscape for the telecoms industry remain on track, after nearly being derailed at a tense meeting of government ministers Thursday.Failure by the 27 telecoms ministers to reach an agreed position would have extinguished any hope of the laws coming into effect next year as hoped, leaving the industry in a state of prolonged legal limbo.The U.K., Sweden and the Netherlands abstained on grounds that the agreed changes weren’t ambitious enough, but no country opposed the compromise package tabled by France, holder of the six-month rotating presidency of the E.U. backs mobile roaming cap
European telecoms chiefs have backed plans to make it cheaper to access data while on a mobile phone abroad.The measures will slash the cost of sending a text while abroad and reform the way phone operators charge for data calls made when customers roam.

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