Friday

23rd Jun 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“The commission services have, on the instruction of president Juncker, withdrawn the draft and are working on a new version,” one can read on the commission webpage, where the proposal had been published on Monday.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.

MEPs to grill youngest ever EU commissioner

Mariya Gabriel, a Bulgarian MEP, is designated to take up the EU commission's digital affairs portfolio, although she has little experience with that file.

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. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal
  2. US issues warrant for VW managers, German media say
  3. EU extends sanctions against Russia
  4. Merkel denies Franco-German deal on EU agencies
  5. Dutch PM: Turkey is upholding migration deal
  6. Britain to outline rights of UK-based EU citizens
  7. Tusk can 'imagine' the UK still remaining in EU
  8. Norway offers more blocks for Arctic oil exploration

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  2. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  3. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  4. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  5. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  6. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  7. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  8. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  11. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move
  12. European Social Services ConferenceDriving innovation in the social sector – 26-28 June

Latest News

  1. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  2. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  3. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit
  4. EU pressures firms to tackle online terrorism
  5. Lack of eligible candidates dogs EU relocation scheme
  6. Border management going virtual
  7. Tusk hints UK could stay in EU, if it wanted
  8. Merkel, Orban and the not quite closed Balkan route