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Newsletters 20 June 2017

European Regional Bureau Newsletter – 02 June – 09 June 2017

Internet Access

EU: Council trilogue programme unveiled

  • The 18-month programme of the Council of the EU, prepared by the future Estonian, Bulgarian and Austrian Presidencies and the High Representative of the EU Federica Mogherini has been published. Key priorities include the future of EU27 ahead of Brexit and the work on the different initiatives and action of the Digital Single Market (DSM).
  • On digital topics, the focus will be on the smart economy and the free flow of data, the review of the telecoms regulatory framework and company law initiatives. Another key priority concerns trust and security in digital services with the new data protection package. The presidencies will work on the need to advance cross-border digital public services by an ambitious implementation of the principles of the EU e-Government Action Plan 2016-2020.

EU: “Joint statement on saving Europe’s 5G ambition” released by industry associations

  • On June 7, a “Joint statement on saving Europe’s 5G ambition” was released by a number of European associations concerned about the current direction of the EU discussions on telecoms reform.
  • The associations believe that these discussions have lost their focus on the importance of 5G. They argue that the proposed European Electronic Communications Code and the e-Privacy Regulation should ensure an investment friendly regulatory environment; pro-innovation rules; harmonised and predictable spectrum policy; and flexible privacy requirements.
  • Signatories include the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO); DIGITALEUROPE; GSMA; Developers Alliance; Cable Europe; and the European Coordination Committee of the Radiological, Electromedical and healthcare IT industry (COCIR).

EU: BEREC’s 31st plenary meeting and wholesale roaming guidelines

EU: Delays expected for finalisation of the European Electronic Communications Code

  • On June 8, the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) discussed the amendments for Dita Charanzová’s (ALDE, CZ) draft report on the European Electronic Communications Code (Recast), the regulatory framework governing the telecommunications sector.
  • Both the rapporteur and the shadow rapporteurs agreed that the discussions between them have been very productive. However, due to the large number of amendments they are moving very slowly and they will struggle to meet the deadlines.
  • The rapporteur noted that from the amendments it is clear that all groups support and want to make sure that telecommunications are available on equal terms to all citizens. There is general consensus on the fact that the EU needs to speed up in order to have better results in the field of telecoms.

World: EIB funds initiative by Africa Mobile Networks

  • On June 8, during the European Development Days, the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced it is funding an initiative by Africa Mobile Networks to build 1,000 new solar-powered mobile phone base stations in rural parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.
  • The EIB will invest €24 million in the long-term project, which will connect nearly 4 million people in rural Africa to telecommunications for the first time.
  • More than two thirds of the new mobile phone coverage will be located in North and South Kivu, conflict-torn areas of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

EU: Wholesale roaming markets rules published on the Official Journal of the EU

  • On June 9, the Regulation regarding the rules for wholesale roaming markets (the prices operators charge each other when their customers use other networks when roaming in the EU) has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. On June 15, the roam-like-at-home (RLAH) principle, as foreseen in the Regulation on open Internet access, will come into effect.
  • The Regulation should ensure that the level of wholesale roaming charges enables the sustainable provision of RLAH in the EU, without distorting the domestic visited and home markets.

EU: Telecoms Council addresses Digital Single Market

  • On June 9, the Council of the European Union’s Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council met. The Council discussed the European Commission’s progress on realising a Digital Single Market. The participants discussed the impact of the Wifi4EU Programme, the need to achieve a free flow of data within the EU, and the need to ensure that Europe has robust data protection measures.
  • European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip said that both the abolition of roaming charges and the Wifi4EU programme would help achieve a digital single market. He stressed that Europe must meet its connectivity targets and declared that, in the future, the Commission will focus on issues such as cybersecurity and the data economy, stating that the free flow of data must be addressed.

Trust

EU: European Reflection Paper on the Future of Defence addresses cybersecurity

  • On June 7, the European Commission released a Reflection Paper on the Future of Defence, as foreseen in its White Paper on the Future of the EU (March 2017). The reflection paper is the fourth in this series, and it outlines the main trends and challenges that will shape the future of security and defence.
  • The document states that on cyber-security, the EU would coordinate response scenarios and action in case of cyber-attacks or external interference, “including through systematic information sharing, technological cooperation and joint doctrines”.

EU: Council of Europe agrees on launching cybercrime protocol

  • On June 8, the Parties to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime agreed to launch the preparation of a protocol to the Convention to “help law enforcement secure evidence on servers in foreign, multiple or unknown jurisdictions”.
  • Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary Generalof the Council of Europe, called this a “landmark decision to better protect the rule of law in cyberspace” when opening the 17th Plenary of the Cybercrime Convention Committee.
  • Negotiations will last for at least two and a half years.

EU: Council approves position on digital consumers’ rules

  • On June 8, the EU Member States representatives agreed a compromise approach for a new law for digital consumers of mobile applications, software and other digital services.
  • The rules, proposed by the European Commission in December 2015, seek to clarify the rights of consumers of digital content at EU level. The Council’s position, agreed in principle on May 31, states that consumers are entitled to have some non-personal data returned to them if they end a contract with a mobile application or digital service provider, and that customers buying digital services such as cloud applications and data storage should be protected by the rules.

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council’s meeting

  • On June 8, the Justice and Home Affairs Council met in Luxembourg. On this occasion, the European Commission briefed Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs on the work being carried out during the expert process on encryption, which is foreseen to continue over the coming months. The Presidency of the Council also briefed Ministers on the state of play with regard to data retention.
  • Many Ministers supported the need to consider EU legislative action regarding direct cooperation with service providers and setting EU common conditions and minimum safeguards for direct access to data by authorities from a computer system. Many also stressed the need to improve data protection.
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