Friday

23rd Feb 2018

Focus

Roaming draft scrapped after Juncker heard about it

  • Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker "feels that this proposal is not satisfactory and that we need to aim higher and come up with something better," a spokesman said. (Photo: European Commission)

The European Commission on Friday (9 September) withdrew a draft proposal on roaming it presented on Monday because its president Jean-Claude Juncker said it was "not satisfactory enough", when he heard about it afterwards.

"It was a technical proposal that our services drafted. The president feels that this proposal is not satisfactory and that we need to aim higher and come up with something better," commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein told journalists on Friday.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The draft proposal outlined a 90-day period during which calls, text messaging and internet use from one country to the other would be exempt from surcharges, and gave the possibility for operators to introduce surcharges after that period.

The proposal was to implement an agreement from June 2015 between the commission, the European Parliament and member states to phase out roaming charges while maintaining a “fair use safeguard” to prevent abusive uses.

Winterstein explained that the proposal was drafted during the so-called comitology process, which involves experts from member states under the commission's authority.

"When a draft is sent to comitology process, it becomes public so that everyone can have his say," he pointed out, adding that "at that point the president isn't necessarily informed."

'Not a flip-flop'

Because the commission is a political commission, Winterstein explained, Juncker took a "political decision" and asked for improvements when he learned of the draft proposal.

The spokesman did not say why the commission president, or his cabinet, did not know about the draft proposal, even though roaming has been one of the EU's flagship measures to ease the life of EU citizens.

On Tuesday, Winterstein announced in the press room that "the end of the roaming charges was fixed for June 2017. The commission has promised it and now the commission is indeed delivering now."

What happened after, the same spokesman said on Friday, is that Juncker "heard and saw the feedback ... He considered that in view of this feedback, which the commission was actively seeking, this proposal was not adequate."

The proposal was criticised by MEPs who accused the commission of reneging on the promise to phase out roaming.

The centre-left S&D group said the proposal was “complete nonsense”.

After Juncker's decision to scrap the draft, the Party of European Socialists posted on Tweeter: "The @EU_Commission drops its proposal to limit #roaming to 90 days. Thank you all for supporting our claim!"

The leader of the centre-right EPP group in the parliament, Manfred Weber, said that he expected the commission to "give a strong signal" that there will be "no more roaming fees from European consumers in 2017."

Winterstein rejected claims that the commission abruptly changed its mind in face of MEPs pressure.

"What you are calling flipflop, I call it 'taking into account feedback that we received'," he told journalists.

He said that roaming charges "are going to disappear on 1 June 2017, period." But he declined to say how the commission will now give satisfaction to its president and to all parties to the 2015 agreement.

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.

Juncker: EU 'not at risk' of disintegration

The EU Commission chief warned Europe is more divided than ever before, but that Brexit does not mean it is falling apart. He also promised free wifi, an EU army of sorts, and more investments.

Facebook promises more privacy ahead of new EU rules

Speaking in Brussels, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, says the social media giant has "not done enough to stop the abuse of our technology." Her admission comes with new plans to wrestle with "bad content".

Column / Brussels Bytes

ECJ should rule against Austrian online censorship lawsuit

EU judges have an opportunity to make clear that no member state can decide what the rest of the world reads online, now that Austria's Supreme Court has referred the Glawischnig case to the European Court of Justice.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  2. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  3. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  4. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  5. European far-right political party risks collapse
  6. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table
  7. EU leaders to kick off post-Brexit budget debate
  8. Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme