On 19 July 1995, the Commission agreed, at the initiative of Commissioners Van Miert (Competition) and Bangemann (Industrial policy, information technology and telecommunications), on two fundamental measures that, together, will shape the telecommunications market in Europe over the coming years. These are: - A draft Directive (under Article 90 of the Treaty) which will implement the political agreement among Member States to liberalise all telecommunications services (i.e. including public voice telephony) and infrastructure by 1st January 1998 (with transition periods for certain Member States). It also calls on Member States to take the necessary steps, before 1998, in order to ensure that markets are fully open by the agreed deadline. In particular, it specifies that restrictions on the use of alternative infrastructures should be lifted by 1996 (except as concerns public voice telephony for which the deadline is 1998) and that licensing conditions and interconnection rules should be set down by 1997. This draft Directive will now be published for public consultation before full adoption by the Commission by the end of this year; - A proposal for a Directive (based on Article 100A), setting out a harmonized framework for interconnection in telecommunications in the context of open network provision (ONP), with the aim of ensuring universal service and interoperablity of telecommunications services throughout the Union. It will enable new entrants to liberalized telecommunications markets to interconnect their facilities with those of the existing network operators. This proposal will be subject to approval by the European Parliament and the Council, and should be implemented before 1998. The two measures follow the balanced EU approach through which liberalization and harmonization in the telecommunications sector are progressing hand-in-hand. They represent the core of a package of regulatory changes that the Commission is preparing for the post-1998 environment, and are the result of extensive consultation with the sector over the past months. Other measures, already announced in the Commission's Communication on the Infrastructure Green Paper Consultations, are expected to be published by the end of 1995.
Policy making and guidelines
17 April 1996