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Telecommunications Council

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 10 December 2015

The Telecommunications Council will take place in Brussels on 11 December 2015. The UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, Shan Morgan, will represent the UK. Below are the agenda items and the positions we intend to adopt.

The first item is a progress report from the presidency on state of play on the 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. However, if there is a debate, the intervention will outline the UK’s support for this directive in general, but state our concerns about the European Parliament’s and some member states’ desire to increase the scope of the directive beyond the Commission’s stated aims of creating a harmonised minimum EU standard.

The second item is a report from the presidency on the state of play on the negotiation in trilogues of 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 (this is sometimes referred to as the cyber security directive—First reading—EM6342/13). We do not expect a debate on this item.

These items will be followed by a debate on the review of the European electronic communications framework. The framework’s aim is to harmonise the regulation of electronic communications services across all EU member states. The UK’s intervention will say that the UK places high priority on access to high-quality fixed and mobile connectivity for consumers and business; and the framework must also continue to encourage competition as the main driver for private investment in infrastructure, but the limits of competition need to be understood.

We will also advocate a principled proportionate approach to ensuring consumers are protected from harm when using communications services. This is important to avoid stifling innovation and unnecessary regulatory burdens. We will also outline the UK priorities for the framework review, including investment and competition, innovation and consumer protection; and note that it is also important that we work together to conclude the review as soon as possible and ensure coherency with the other digital single market work strands.

This will be followed by two items under AOB led by the Commission, the first being information from the Commission on current internet governance issues and the second an update on the telecommunication and ICT aspects of the negotiation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). We do not intend to intervene on either of these items.

Finally, the Dutch delegation will inform the Council of their priorities for their forthcoming presidency before Council adjourns until the next meeting in May 2016.