Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Commission takes action against Member States lagging behind in liberalization of telecommunications

The European Commission has decided to initiate formal infringement procedures against seven Member States in order to force them to speed up transposition of the measures necessary to ensure the completion of the liberalization of telecommunications. The seven Member States c...
The European Commission has decided to initiate formal infringement procedures against seven Member States in order to force them to speed up transposition of the measures necessary to ensure the completion of the liberalization of telecommunications. The seven Member States concerned are: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal. In addition, infringement procedures have already been initiated against Spain.

This decision on the part of the Commission follows the adoption, on 8 October 1997, of a Commission report setting out the state of transposition by the Member States of the regulatory package aiming at full liberalization of the telecommunications market scheduled for 1 January 1998. The report concluded that although a large number of Member States have transposed the full regulatory framework, or will have done so by the end of 1997, a number of Member States were still lagging behind in key areas.

The procedures approved by the Commission cover the following infringements of the EU rules:

- Denmark:
. Failure to ensure that its public operator, TeleDanmark, publishes standard terms and conditions for interconnection by 1 July 1997. Such publication is crucial to allow new entrants to quickly negotiate, on the basis of these standard conditions, the interconnection of their new network to the network of the incumbent;

- Greece:
. Refusal to allow the two private Greek GSM operators to interconnect their networks directly with foreign fixed or mobile networks, without passing through the public operator's network;
. Failure to ensure that these private GSM operators have access to the necessary points of interconnection to the fixed public telecommunications network;
. Failure to liberalize the establishment of new infrastructure for the provision of liberalized services;

- Italy:
. Failure to ensure full liberalization of the establishment of new, and the use of existing, infrastructures for liberalized services by 1 July 1996, given that it still considers to impose a new licensing procedure for this activity;
. Failure to specify the future financial obligations which will be imposed on new entrants in order to share the net cost of universal service burdening Telecom Italia;

- Luxembourg:
. Failure to liberalize the establishment of new infrastructure for the provision of liberalized services;
. Failure to notify key measures which will be part of the declaration procedures it intends to impose on future providers of voice telephony and public telecommunications networks;
. Failure to correctly transpose a provision of EU Law prohibiting the limitation of the number of licenses to be granted to new entrants, except in case of scarcity of frequencies (which is the case for GSM);

- Germany:
. Failure to ensure that Deutsche Telekom publishes standard terms and conditions for interconnection including prices as required under EU Law;

- Portugal:
. Failure to liberalize the establishment of new infrastructure for the provision of liberalized services;
. Failure to ensure that Portugal Telecom S.A. operates a cost accounting system allowing the Commission to assess whether its telephone tariffs are cost oriented.

- Belgium:
. Failure to adopt the legal measures necessary to liberalize voice telephony and establishment of public telecommunications networks by 1 January 1998;
. Liberalization of the use of existing infrastructures only and not the establishment of new infrastructures for the provision of liberalized services, notwithstanding the fact that the Commission already in August 1996 warned Belgium that its then draft legislation was contrary to EU Law;
. Failure to adopt the legislation which sets the financial contributions of new entrants to the net cost of universal service;
. Failure to abolish the restrictions in the GSM decree on direct interconnection between networks situated in different Member States;
. Failure to ensure that the cost accounting system implemented by Belgacom identifies the underlying cost elements on which the published interconnection terms and conditions should be based under EU Law;
. Failure to adopt any time-table for the future phasing out of the tariff imbalances that Belgacom claims cannot be completed before 2000;
. Failure to transpose a number of provisions of the Voice Telephony Directive (Directive 95/62/EC) which should have been fully transposed by 13 December 1996.

In parallel the Commission decided to continue the infringement procedure already opened against Spain which, as Belgium, did not lift all restrictions on the establishment of new infrastructures for the provision of liberalized services.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top