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Written Statements

Volume 589: debated on Thursday 4 December 2014

Written Statement

Thursday 4 December 2014

Culture, Media and Sport

Telecommunications Council

The Telecommunications Council took place in Brussels on 27 November 2014. The Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Shan Morgan, represented the UK. It is worth noting that the agenda was taken in a different order as reported in the pre-Council statement and this is reflected in this statement.

The first item was a proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility to public sector bodies’ websites. (First reading EM 16006/11). There were no major interventions on this item.

The second item was a report on the state of play from the presidency 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 EM 13562/13 and 13555/13 + ADDs 1-2). This item began with a “state of play” from the presidency. This item included a request that the Council should look to reach a common position to enable commencement of negotiations with the European Parliament at the earliest opportunity.

The UK, Germany, Spain, Romania, Portugal, Malta, Poland and France endorsed this proposed approach. However, the majority of the remaining member states opposed this idea. Many member states also suggested that further work was needed on roaming, including impact assessments, consultations and advice from the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). With regard to the net neutrality proposal, member states generally supported the presidency’s proposal for a principles based approach. The UK intervention was as per the pre-Council statement.

The presidency concluded this item by noting that Council remained divided on this package, but would strive to work towards reaching a common position. The new Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther Oettinger, intervened stating that the Commission would continue to push this package at political and technical level, to enable the completion of the negotiations.

There then followed information from the presidency on a 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). There were no major interventions on this item.

There then followed the adoption of draft Council conclusions on internet governance. They were adopted with little comment from most member states.

The final major item was a “full table” debate on the mid-term review of the Commission’s EU 2020 strategy. The ensuing debate was focused on the digital agenda. Highlights included: many member states linked progress on the digital agenda with the need to encourage jobs and growth within the EU; some signalled commitment to the digital single market; and a number of others highlighted the importance of broadband roll-out. The UK intervention was as per the pre-Council statement.

Finally, the Latvian delegation informed the Council of their priorities for their forthcoming presidency before Council adjourned until the next meeting in summer 2015.