Following a vote yesterday, the European Parliament has adopted a compromise package of five reports aimed at further movement towards a single market for telecoms and internet services.
"The telecoms package is designed to improve access to the information society by striking a balance between sector-specific regulation and European Union competition rules in a European market long dominated by monopolies but now starting to open up," according to the Parliament's website.
Angelika Niebler, MEP for the European Democrats party, said that there a number of outstanding problems remained to be tackled despite increased liberalisation in recent years, not least the need to inject more competition into the market and deal with powerful operators.
"The aim now is to get rid of a number of bottlenecks and introduce a degree of harmonisation across the states which, in future, would enable operators fulfilling the conditions of the new directive to offer services without requiring authorisation," she said.
The Parliament and European member states have historically clashed over allowing Brussels powers of veto over decisions made by national telecoms regulators.
Divisions existed as recently as last week between investigative committees and the Belgian Council which holds the presidency of the European Union. A deal was finally brokered by Belgium's telecoms minister, Rik Daems.
Areas discussed include 'TV across frontiers' (the provision of public services on satellite and digital television), billing details, and lower mobile phone prices when roaming across international connections.
Erkki Liikanen, the Brussels telecoms commissioner, said that, if the legislation was passed, it would fulfil the agreements made by European Union leaders at the Lisbon summit last year aiming to "make Europe the most dynamic high-technology economy in the world by 2010".
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