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Telecommunications Council

Volume 596: debated on Thursday 11 June 2015

The Telecommunications Council will take place in Luxembourg on 12 June 2015. I am representing the UK at this Council, and below are the agenda items, and the positions I intend to adopt on each of them.

The first item is an exchange of views on the Commission’s digital single market strategy, which was published on 6 May. The debate will be informed by two questions from the presidency. My intervention will include: This strategy is strongly welcomed by the UK; Europe should prioritise making it easier for small businesses to start up, scale up and add value to the whole EU economy; and that we should also prioritise the area of e-commerce. My intervention will also lay out early high level HMG views on various parts of the digital single market package including telecoms framework, the data economy and cross border parcel policy.

The second item is for Council to reach agreement for a general approach on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a programme on interoperability solutions for European public administrations, businesses and citizens (First reading—EM11580/14). I am proposing to abstain from voting on this general approach. My intervention will make it clear that while we support the aims of ISA2 in principle and hope to be able to support a final text following negotiations with the European Parliament, we cannot support the current text.

This will be followed by information from the presidency on the ‘state of play’ on negotiations regarding ‘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’ (EM 13562/13 and 13555/13 + ADDs 1-2). My intervention will: stress UK’s ambition that the regulation contain a clear timetable of actions that will result in the eventual cessation of mobile roaming charges in the EU; and seek to ensure that the regulation enables member states to bring forward, or maintain, existing parental controls measures, thus permitting the UK to maintain our current regime of online protection for children. Discussion on this item will be preceded and informed by an informal ministerial breakfast whose aim is to reach political agreement on the regulation; my interventions during this discussion will mirror those in Council.

This item will be followed by 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 (NIS directive), (First reading—EM6342/13). I do not intend to intervene on this item. However, if a round table is initiated by others on this item I will remind Council that while the UK supports the aim of raising the level of cyber security across the Union it would be prudent to take our time and make sure we get the detail right so the directive is not unduly burdensome on business.

The Council will then be given a progress report from the presidency on proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility to public sector bodies’ websites (First reading—EM16006/11). We do not expect a debate on this item and I do not propose to intervene.

There will then follow the adoption of draft council conclusions on the transfer of the stewardship of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions to the multi-stakeholder community. I will support these conclusions and do not expect a debate on this item.

Finally, under any other business, the Luxembourg delegation will inform the Council of their priorities for their forthcoming presidency before Council adjourns until the next meeting in quarter four 2015.