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EU: Telecoms Council

Volume 692: debated on Tuesday 5 June 2007

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Industry and the Regions (Margaret Hodge) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I will be representing the UK at the Telecoms Council in Luxembourg on 7 June 2007. This will be the only formal Telecoms Council under the German presidency of the European Union (EU).

The first item on the agenda will be political agreement on the proposal for a regulation on roaming on public mobile networks within the European Community. Following the endorsement by the European Parliament, it is expected that this Council meeting will also give political agreement to a text that will lead to the introduction of price reductions for consumers by the end of the summer. I intend to express my warm approval of the outcome, which as you are aware has been influenced by the UK. I will also take the opportunity to stress that the use of such a regulation to control prices should be seen as an exceptional measure.

The presidency will then provide a progress report on the proposal for the full accomplishment of the internal market of Community postal services by 2009. There are significant economic and consumer benefits to be achieved through liberalisation of the postal market, and for that reason I intend to intervene in support of the Commission to help move this proposal forward. Political discussions on this key proposal are likely to continue over a ministerial lunch, where I will reinforce the UK's position and seek to encourage others to move towards our objectives.

After lunch, the Council will reconvene with the adoption of the Council conclusions for the i2010 annual Information Society Report for 2007. The i2010 strategy sets the context for the EU's work on information society and media issues. The strategy consists of three priorities: the regulatory environment; innovation and investment; and inclusion. In my intervention, I will express my continued support for the Commission's i2010 strategy, stressing its importance as an economic driver in achieving the goals of the Lisbon strategy for jobs and growth.

This agenda item will be followed by an exchange of views on the Commission's communication on the way forward for the take-up of radio frequency identification (RFID) in Europe. The UK welcomes the communication and generally supports its conclusions. During my intervention, I will give my support to this communication but also emphasise the importance of avoiding excessive regulation as this will hinder the rollout and take-up of RFID technology in the European and global economy.

Finally, under any other business, the Commission will provide information on its forthcoming communication on the evaluation of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).

I will write to you again after the Telecoms Council to provide an update on discussions.