Five new infringement cases opened for non-compliance with EU telecoms rules
On 7 July 2006, the European Commission announced the opening of five new cases of proceedings against possible infringements of EU telecoms rules. Four of these cases concern the non-conformity of national "must-carry" rules with the EU "Universal Service" Directive in Belgium (Wallonia and Brussels), the Netherlands and Finland. The other case concern the failure to grant “rights of way” in Cyprus, which has prevented new entrants from being able to offer their services in competition with the incumbent. In all these cases, the Member States will receive a letter of formal notice and will have two months to reply.
In addition to these cases, regarding the provision of directories and directory enquiry services, Poland and Latvia are being referred to the European Court of Justice, for failing to ensure the publication of a comprehensive directory and a comprehensive inquiry service. The Commission already sent to those countries a letter of formal notice on 5 July 2005 and a reasoned opinion on 13 December 2005.
The Commission stresses that comprehensive directories and directory enquiry services comprising all listed telephone subscribers and their numbers (fixed and mobile) are clearly indispensable in everyday life. This is the reason why, these services form part of the universal service and their provision in all Member States is mandatory under European Community Law.
Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding nevertheless said that “it is good news for consumers that comprehensive directory and enquiry services are being made available in almost all Member States”. Indeed, the Commission has closed cases in the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Slovakia following the publication of a comprehensive directory and/or a comprehensive directory enquiry service in those Member States.
On the other hand, investigations are still pending against France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. France already received a letter of formal notice on 5 July 2005 and a reasoned opinion on 13 December 2005. Portugal and the United Kingdom received a letter of formal notice on 13 December 2005.
A detailed overview of the state of infringement proceedings is available on the implementation and enforcement website of the Information Society and Media DG.
See also MEMO/06/271