The opening-up of the telecommunications market to competition has acted as a catalyst on a sector previously reserved for oligopolies. To keep up with these changes, Europe's decision-making bodies have adopted legislation in tune with technological progress and market requirements. These developments have given rise to the adoption of a new regulatory framework on electronic communications, the main aim of which is to strengthen competition by making market entry easier and by stimulating investment in the sector. The European Union`s legislation liberalising national electronic communications market was first adopted by all EU Member States in 1998. Since the beginning of the 21st century, several improvements of the EU framework have been made to ensure competition, investment and the creation of a single market in this area. This was done by means of legal directives that are mandatory for transposition in to the EU Members States` legislation. Depending on the date of their issuance, these additions are often reffered to as “The 2003 and 2009 European Union regulatory frameworks”.

 

The collective name, EU 2003 regulatory framework, encompasses the five following directives:

  • Directive 19/2002/19/EC, “The Access Directive” – deals especially with the access obligation that the national regulatory authority can impose on the SMP operators, which means the SMP operators can be obliged to provide access to their networks and services, ensuring non-discrimination, transparency and cost-orientation
  • Directive 2002/20/EC, “The Authorisation Directive” – facilitates market entry by requiring a general authorisation regime, which means that everybody can provide electronic communications services without the need for a licence or the need to pay inappropriate fees
  • Directive 2002/21/EC, “The Framework Directive” – sets the legal environment required for the independent national regulatory authorities to perform regular market analyses and adopt appropriate remedies when competition is insufficient
  • Directive 2002/22/EC, “The Universal Service Directive” – contains several provisions to ensure consumer protection, especially the requirement to ensure that a basic level of electronic communications service is available on the whole territory of the country and for every end-user, even in cases when it would not be provided under normal market conditions
  • Directive 2002/58/EC, “The Privacy Directive” – deals with the protection of personal data in electronic communications

Often added to this list is another legal act, Decision 2002/676/EC, “The Radio Spectrum Decision” – which deals with the regulatory framework for radio spectrum policy in the EU.

 

In December 2009, the European Union (aiming to improve the regulatory environment, customer protection and market competition), amended some of the provisions of the abovementioned framework. The two Directives and one Regulation are known under the collective name of the EU 2009 regulatory framework:

 

In addition, the European Commission issued on 7 May 2009Recommendation No. 2009/396/EC on the Regulatory Treatment of Fixed and Mobile Termination Rates in the EU.

Another important part of the regulatory framework is the Commission Recommendation 2007/879/EC on relevant product and service markets within the electronic communications sector susceptible to ex-ante regulation in accordance with Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of theCouncil on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services. In the document, the European Commission lists the 7 relevant markets where it recommends exercising market analysis and stipulates the methodology to be used when identifying other relevant markets.

In order to encourage innovation and increase productivity, employment and competitiveness, and ultimately to create economic growth and achieve the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy, on 11th September 2013 the European Commission has adopted the Commission Recomendation on consistent non-discrimination obligations and costing methodologies to promote competition and enhance the broadband investment environment. The recommendation aims to create an environment that is both competitive and investment-attractive for the development of high-speed broadband internet.

 

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The 16th Plenary Meeting of The EaPeReg Network

The 16th Plenary Meeting of the EaPeReg Network (Eastern Partnership Electronic Communications Regulators Network) initially intended to take place in Warsaw (Poland) was held in an online format on December 3, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizational support for the meeting was provided by Cecoforma with the financial support of the European Commission.

The event was attended by representatives of telecommunication regulatory bodies from 6 Eastern Partnership countries and several EU Member States as well as representatives of the International Telecommunication Union, the European Commission, BEREC, EMERG, the World Bank Group and EU4Digital experts from E&Y.

The main goal of the Plenary meeting was to discuss the following topics:

  • Assessment of EaPeReg work in 2020 including EWGs (IRB EWG, REWG, SEWG) reports
  • EaPeReg 2020 activities and external cooperation (with BEREC, ITU and EMERG)
  • Presentation of the EU4Digital Facility experts on project work streams activities (roaming, independence of NRAs, spectrum and broadband)
  • Election of the EaPeReg Chair and Vice-Chair 2021
  • Future development of EaPeReg website
  • Information concerning next Plenary meeting (spring 2021)

The event was moderated by the EaPeReg Chair 2020 Mr. Karol Krzywicki, Deputy President of UKE, (Poland).

The EaPeReg Chair 2020, Mr. Karol Krzywicki and Vice-Chair 2020, Mr. Elmir Velizade, Deputy Minister of the MTCHT, (Azerbaijan), as well as the BEREC Vice-Chair for 2020, Mr. Jeremy Godfrey, the EC representative, Mr. Vassilis Kopanas, DG Connect and the EMERG representative, Ms. Paola Calestani made welcome speeches.

The speakers highlighted the key activities of EaPeReg in 2020 and expressed their satisfaction due to the results attained within all three Expert Working Groups. Thus, the targets set for the current year are, as noted positively, almost achieved. The developing regional and international relations of EaPeReg established with different institutions were indicated as well.  

The E&Y project team leader presented the progress report on international roaming, NRA independence and spectrum development. He mentioned that the drafts of Regional Roaming Agreement and Regional Spectrum Agreement are agreed among both EWG members and ready for internal procedures in all 6 countries. Representatives of the World Bank presented the progress report on project activities related to broadband strategy and infrastructure mapping.

In the next part of the Plenary meeting Mr. Vassilis Kopanas from DG CONNECT presented the EU process of defining Eastern Partnership Deliverables post-2020 in relation to the findings of the Summary of the HDM Panel.

Thereafter, the EaPeReg EWGs’ Chairs reported on groups’ activities done in 2020, as well as their visions on directions of groups considering the trends in the telecom field and main plans for 2021.

The next agenda item referred to the information about the EaPeReg’s international cooperation and joint activities with BEREC, EMERG and ITU. EMERG representative expressing the EMERG`s satisfaction with ongoing relations with EaPeReg as a good common platform for cooperation and exchange of experiences proposed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between EaPeReg and EMERG.  

The subsequent part of the Plenary meeting was dedicated to elections of the EaPeReg Leadership for 2021. It was unanimously accepted that EaPeReg Chair in 2021 will be Ukraine/ National Commission for the State Regulation of Communications and Informatization (NCCIR) while the EaPeReg Vice-Chair 2021 will be Sweden/ Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS).

The final part of the Plenary meeting was mainly devoted to organizational issues, including information on the development of the EaPeReg website and information on the next Plenary meeting in the first half of 2021. As there has been technical and security challenge with maintenance of the EaPeReg website, before the Plenary the EaPeReg leadership addressed the EC and the E&Y project team with the assistance to eliminate the issue. Considering the request, the new concept was presented by the representative of E&Y with the most optimal solution of taking the EaPeReg website under the EU4Digital`s one. The representative also indicated the possibility of both content and technical maintenance at the same time. The participants supported the proposal.

The incoming chair of EaPeReg briefly presented the draft Work Plan for 2021 and expressed the hope of restoring the physical meetings in 2021 and possibility of holding the next Plenary meeting in Kyiv.

At the end the meeting was closed with the final remarks of Mr. Karol Krzywicki and Mr. Elmir Velizade.

Detailed Workshop
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