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Telecommunications Council

Volume 582: debated on Tuesday 17 June 2014

The Telecommunications Council took place in Luxembourg on 6 June 2014; I represented the UK.

The first item was a progress report from the presidency on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to ensure a high level of network and information security across the Union. (First Reading—EM6342/13). The Greek presidency opened this item by introducing its report on this dossier. They noted general support for a compromise agreement on this dossier and that Council agreed regarding an “improved” role for ENISA. A debate followed that centred on the issue of “operational co-operation”.

Poland began the debate by making a call for legislation that mandates the exchange of information between member states. Poland’s suggestion received support from Lithuania, Denmark, Estonia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Luxembourg.

UK rejected this approach—stressing that the position adopted by the presidency was at the absolute limit of what they could accept—and was supported in this by France, Germany, Spain, Romania, Finland, Cyprus, Sweden, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria, with many stressing that trust could not be built by legislation.

Italy—as the incoming presidency—promised to build on the progress made by the outgoing presidency.

The Greek presidency then noted that its report already represented a compromise of the various member state positions and concluded that this position was the way forward for future work on this dossier.

The second item was a progress report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a connected continent. (First Reading—EM13562/13 and 13555/13 + ADDs 1-2). This item began with the Greek presidency noting a series of concerns expressed by member states, but there had been some progress regarding discussions. The presidency noted the conclusion of its report, in that a potential way forward was for member states to reach agreement on those parts of the package where agreement had begun to coalesce. Commissioner Kroes’ intervention indicated a view that Council should adopt a common position in July. She also stated that most member states wished to see an end to mobile roaming charges and supported intervention on net neutrality. She also recognised Council’s concerns regarding the Commission’s spectrum proposals and again asserted that they did not represent a transfer of competency. There was no formal debate and a single intervention from Estonia supporting the progress report’s conclusions. I did not intervene.

These items were be followed by a presentation by the Commission on the latest iteration of the digital agenda scoreboard. There were no major interventions on this item.

This was followed by three items under AOB, all updates from the presidency on: the proposal for a regulation from the European Parliament and of the Council on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market. (First Reading—EM10977/12); a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on measures to reduce the costs of deploying high-speed electronic communication networks. (First Reading—EM7999/13); and a proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility to public sector bodies’ websites (First Reading—EM16006/11). There were no major interventions on any of these items.

Finally, the Italian delegation informed the Council of its priorities for its forthcoming presidency before Council adjourned until the next meeting in November 2014.