Saturday

27th May 2017

Focus

Juncker overrules own commissioners on roaming

  • Following complaints by MEPs, Juncker (r) ordered the withdrawal of a proposal on roaming, for which Ansip (l) is responsible (Photo: European Commission)

[UPDATED on Friday at 12.25] European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has ordered his civil servants to withdraw a heavily-criticised draft proposal setting out rules on cross-border use of telecommunications services, mere days after his commissioners defended it.

“The commission services have, on the instruction of president Juncker, withdrawn the draft and are working on a new version,” one can read on the commission webpage, where the proposal had been published on Monday. The page was updated on Thursday (8 September).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Commissioners Ansip (Digital Single Market) and Oettinger (Digital Economy) (Photo: European Commission)

The proposal said European telecom operators would not be allowed to charge consumers for using their phone in another EU country for at least 90 days a year. After that period, consumers could face additional costs.

Following publication of the proposal, which can be vetoed by national governments or MEPs, a storm of criticism appeared.

MEPs like Belgian Liberal Guy Verhofstadt said the commission “should not break its promise to end roaming surcharges” altogether, not just for 90 days a year, and called for the proposal to be revised.

The centre-left Socialist group sent out social media messages calling the proposal “complete nonsense”.

But as recently as Wednesday, EU digital commissioners Andrus Ansip and Guenther Oettinger published a joint statement defending the proposal, saying that 99 percent of European travellers are abroad less than 90 days a year.

“Why did the commission put forward the 90 days minimum? Very simple: We have to strike the right balance,” they wrote.

“Without a few safeguards to avoid abuses - safeguards that the European Parliament and Council [which represents member states] have asked the commission to specify - network quality and investments in new capacity in some countries may suffer as people could opt for different territorial operators, and the domestic mobile prices might go up as operators would try to compensate losses.”

But Ansip and Oettinger have now apparently been overruled by their boss.

Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said Friday afternoon that Juncker decided to withdraw the proposal in light of “feedback received”.

He noted the proposed text was “simply not good enough for our president” and that the commission civil servants will come up with “a better one”.

Winterstein also stressed that “contrary to reports, roaming charges are going to disappear”.

EU redoubles attack on roaming charges

After an embarrassing U-turn last week, the EU commission has proposed to abolish roaming charges by June next year. Only "abusive" clients to pay.

Magazine

Share you in court

Regulatory systems were not ready for the sharing economy, and now the battle has moved from the streets to the halls of justice.

News in Brief

  1. Malloch will not be US ambassador to the EU
  2. 'Significant' drop in EU migration to UK
  3. Bomb injures former Greek PM
  4. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  5. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  6. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  7. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  8. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms