Thursday 31 December 2009

Happy new year 2010!

I wish all the readers of Grahnlaw a prosperous and happy new year 2010!

Please, be nice to people, work to make the European Union better and our world a better place.

Ralf Grahn

European Research Area: Enhanced governance

The European Research Area (ERA) is and evolving concept, aiming to:

 Enable researchers to move and interact seamlessly, benefit from world-class infrastructures and work with excellent networks of research institutions;

 Share, teach, value and use knowledge effectively for social, business and policy purposes;

 Optimise and open European, national and regional research programmes in order to support the best research throughout Europe and coordinate these programmes to address major challenges together;

 Develop strong links with partners around the world so that Europe benefits from the worldwide progress of knowledge, contributes to global development and takes a leading role in international initiatives to solve global issues.

At the highest level, the Council of the European Union has adopted a resolution, which has now been officially published:

COUNCIL RESOLUTION of 3 December 2009 on the enhanced governance of the European Research Area (ERA), published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) 31.12.2009 C 323/1.

The resolution recapitulates the main phases of the ERA and focuses on the future role of CREST (the Scientific and Technical Research Committee).

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read Matizandrea’s Blog (in Italian) and other great euroblogs listed on multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.

History of EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive (Following a legislative procedure)

Believe it or not; it is just like Dinner for One.

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS Directive) 2007/65 covers audiovisual services (including on-demand services) in the digital age. The AVMS Directive renamed and amended the Television without Frontiers Directive (TVWF Directive) 89/552, as amended by Directive 97/36.

Legislative history

Using Simple search on Eur-Lex, we find the AVMS Directive by year 2007 and number 65, which leads to a page with the name and publication of the Directive. Clicking on Bibliographic notice, we arrive at a page, which offers us the Procedure number COD(2005)0260 as well as a direct link to the European Parliament’s Legislative Observatory Oeil.

The Oeil page on the co-decision procedure COD(2005)0260 offers us enough material to keep us going for quite a while. In fact, all the official stages of the legislative process are there.

In addition, the page contains a summary of the Directive, with enough information to satisfy a casual observer, as well as links to summaries of all the previous stages. Further, the Oeil page offers a link to a Factsheet (FII/2005/0260), which summarises the Commission’s impact assessment.

However, let us not be content with this, but act as if we were doing serious research. Our natural starting point is the Commission’s original proposal (and even Green Papers etc. leading up to it).

Commission proposal COM(2005)0646

The Oeil page offers a link to the Commission’s original proposal, which leads to an Eur-Lex web page with access to all the available language versions and document formats of COM(2005) 646 final (as well as mentioning the accompanying documents).

Having chosen the English pdf version, we arrive at our goal, which after a bit of reordering looks like this:

Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL AMENDING COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities (presented by the Commission); Brussels, 13.12.2005 COM(2005) 646 final (29 pages)

As we see, the front page contains other useful information (although we already know it): the procedure number 2005/0260 (COD) as well as references to the accompanying documents SEC(2005) 1625 and SEC(2005) 1626 (which can be accessed either through the Oeil page, or on Eur-Lex, Preparatory acts, choosing SEC documents).

Legislative Observatory Oeil

In a corresponding manner, the procedure number COD/2005/0260 is the key, and the web page of the European Parliament’s Legislative Observatory Oeil offer is the “control room” for every step of the law-making process, although I leave it to you to follow the steps.

It is like Dinner for One, by Laurie Wylie: The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?

The same procedure as every year, James!

The moral of the story is that legislative procedures in the European Union are not totally impenetrable. The same keys to the control room exist for other legal acts. It requires a certain amount of dedication to follow the process, but it is doable.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read the defence oriented Bruxelles2 blog, by Nicolas Grosverheyde, and other great euroblogs listed on multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Citizens in the EU Information Society (European Digital Agenda)

The previous Grahnlaw blog post EU: Last call for copyright comments! Consultation closing (30 December 2009) was, in its own humble way, an example of European cross-border networking in the digital age.

Squaring the Net

On Twitter, I noticed a tweet by Fabien Cazenave, which led to a blog post on La Quadrature du Net: Une semaine pour répondre à la Commission européenne sur le futur du droit d’auteur (29 December 2009). Later I realised that there existed an English version of the web site, with the same blog post: A week left to respond to the European Commission on the future of Copyright (even posted a day earlier, on 28 December 2009).

Anyway, without these messages, I would have continued my writing on EU telecoms policies, information society policies and the future European Digital Agenda, arriving at copyright issues well after the closure of the copyright consultation, officially based on Content in a European Digital Single Market: Challenges for the Future ─ A Reflection Document DG INFSO and DG MARKT.

I believe that copyright issues are going to be of crucial importance in the development of the internal market as well as with regard to the European Union’s trade relations with the outside world (e.g. ACTA) in 2010 and the years to come.

I also believe that it is important that all interests, including citizens and consumers, are adequately represented, when the EU shapes its information society policies.

La Quadrature du Net is an active bilingual (French and English) advocacy group promoting the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet. It has dossiers on: Net neutrality, ACTA, the Telecoms package and Hadopi (the French law). I even found an English name for the Group: Squaring the Net.

There is too much to digest at one go, but here are a few samples of interesting news and posts:

ACTA: A Global Threat to Freedoms (Open Letter) (Updated 24 December 2009)

Questions for the new European Commissioners (16 December 2009)

Copyright: Towards a recognition of users’ rights at WIPO? (23 December 2009) has a similar agenda, in German: ist ein Blog und eine politische Plattform für Freiheit und Offenheit im digitalen Zeitalter.

Pirate Party

The Pirate Party (Swedish: Piratpartiet) is turning into an interesting pan-EU phenomenon, with one elected member of the European Parliament (soon to become two).

Here is the (Swedish) Pirate Party agenda in a nutshell:

The Pirate Party wants to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens' rights to privacy are respected. With this agenda, and only this, we are making a bid for representation in the European and Swedish parliaments.

Numerically small, but growing like a mushroom, the Pirate Party could have the potential to become a real pan-European party, while the traditional Europarties are still tying their shoelaces.


The Internet is borderless, but the European Union is an important player concerning the internal market, international trade relations (e.g. ACTA) and international organisations (e.g. WIPO).

No longer can EU member state governments, lobby groups or the European Commission rely on passive and uninterested citizens and consumers to accept the outcomes of deals signed and sealed between diplomats.

Active citizens and networks, together with the European Parliament, have an important role to play in forming a fair and open European information society.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read the FT Brussels Blog and other great euroblogs listed on multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs

EU: Last call for copyright comments! Consultation closing

There are only a few days left to respond to the public consultation “Content Online”, launched by the DG Internal Market of the European Commission. This consultation on audiovisual and media policy, copyright, and the Single market ends 5 January 2010.

The exercise is based on the document Creative Content in a European Digital Single Market: Challenges for the Future ─ A Reflection Document DG INFSO and DG MARKT (22 October 2009; 22 pages).

These questions are of crucial importance to citizens and consumers, as well creative artists and employees, organisations for various interests, public administrations and businesses of all sizes, as a quick look at the contents show:


1. Introduction

2. The evolution of technology and content markets
2.1. Music
2.2. Publishing
2.3. Audiovisual (Film, Video-on-Demand)
2.4. Video games

3. Recent EU level initiatives

4. The main challenges
4.1. Consumer access
4.2. Commercial users' access
4.3. Protection of rightholders

5. Possible EU actions for a Single Market for Creative Content Online
5.1. Consumer access
5.2. Commercial users’ access
5.3. Protection of rightholders

6. Conclusions

European Digital Agenda & Creative Content Online

As part of the coming European Digital Agenda, the objective of the reflection paper is the creation in Europe of a modern, pro-competitive, and consumer-friendly legal framework for a genuine Single Market for Creative Content Online, in particular by (page 3):

– creating a favourable environment in the digital world for creators and rightholders, by ensuring appropriate remuneration for their creative works, as well as for a culturally diverse European market;

– encouraging the provision of attractive legal offers to consumers with transparent pricing and terms of use, thereby facilitating users' access to a wide range of content through digital networks anywhere and at any time;

– promoting a level playing field for new business models and innovative solutions for the distribution of creative content.

The announced European Digital Agenda is in a formative phase, and the legislative programme for the next Commission is being prepared (page 3), which means that this is an important time for those who want to contribute to the agenda.

A European Copyright Law?

Among possible EU actions for a single market for creative content online (from page 14), and against the background of hopelessly fragmented markets, the Commission mentions the idea of a unified “European Copyright Law”, as a means to achieve coherence in online licensing (page 18). Here is an excerpt of the reasoning:

A Community copyright title would have instant Community-wide effect, thereby creating a single market for copyrights and related rights. It would overcome the issue that each national copyright law, though harmonised as to its substantive scope, applies only in one particular national territory. A Community copyright would enhance legal security and transparency, for right owners and users alike, and greatly reduce transaction and licensing costs. Unification of EU copyright by regulation could also restore the balance between rights and exceptions – a balance that is currently skewed by the fact that the harmonisation directives mandate basic economic rights, but merely permit certain exceptions and limitations. A regulation could provide that rights and exceptions are afforded the same degree of harmonisation.

By creating a single European copyright title, European Copyright Law would create a toolfor streamlining rights management across the Single Market, doing away with the necessity of administering a "bundle" of 27 national copyrights.

With rapidly evolving technologies and market conditions, copyright is going to be one of crucial issues in the internal market as well as for the European Union’s trade negotiations internationally.

It is important that all interested parties contribute to the improvement of the European legal and policy framework.

The copyright consultation closes on 5 January 2010.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read Adjudicating Europe and other great euroblogs listed on multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.

Tuesday 29 December 2009

The Economist ─ the Anti-Federalist Paper

The year is 1787 and Charlemagne, the delegate from Rhode Island – overlooked by the history books – returns to his island state after the closure of the Philadelphia Convention, where the framers of the US Constitution have replaced the decade old Articles of Confederation (1777), subject to ratification by nine states.

Charlemagne’s paper (The Economist) does not agree with the federal vision of the Founding Fathers. On his return, he sketches a few preliminary thoughts for his coming Anti-Federalist Papers. He rejects polygamy, marrying all one’s colleagues, nationalism, European level democracy and soggy corporatist versions of Rhineland capitalism.

Luckily, the leading lights among the framers saw into the future, and Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay explained the reasons for federal government in The Federalist Papers.

If it was possible to legislate an American “demos” and a republican, federal system into being in 1787 to replace the sovereign states – without precedents – it begs the question why extending democratic governance to the European level should be insurmountable in the 21st century.

Charlemagne may be right about states being tetchy about being outvoted, but it is a false dichotomy. A federal system is based on citizens: sovereignty of the people (except in Britain).

As citizens we are outvoted daily, at local, regional and state level, although majorities rule and minorities are protected. Adding the EU level would not make much difference in our daily lives, but the advantages of a united foreign and security policy, and defence, should be obvious.

We already have EU citizenship. Only full political rights in a system of representative democracy are missing.

Silently I wonder what the WW1 and WW2 fate of Britain would have been, if the Founding Fathers had lacked continental vision, or if the former colonies had bought the anti-federalist arguments, failing to ratify the Constitution.

Charlemagne needs to take a leap of more than two centuries to catch up with Europe’s global challenges. Let us hope that the coming posts at least set out on this journey.

Source: Charlemagne’s notebook: The secret selfishness of federalists (28 December 2009)

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read Coulisses de Bruxelles, by Jean Quatremer, and other great euroblogs listed on multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.

EU Network and Information Security (NIS) resolution officially published

In the blog post EU Network and Information Security (NIS) (27 December 2009) we presented the Council resolution and detailed preparatory work by the Commission, mentioning that the annexed resolution would be published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), but that in the meantime we followed the Council document.


Adhering to the principle to use the most authentic and official sources available, we can now announce the official publication of the Council resolution on NIS, which forms the tip of the iceberg:

COUNCIL RESOLUTION of 18 December 2009 on a collaborative European approach to Network and Information Security, published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) 29.12.2009 C 321/1.

NIS reasons

At the same time, we can repeat some of the reasons for the importance of NIS action noted by the Council:


1. Given the importance of electronic communications, infrastructures and services as a basis of economic and social activity, Network and Information Security (NIS) contributes to important values and objectives in society, such as democracy, privacy, economic growth, the free flow of ideas, and economic and political stability;

2. Information and communication technology systems, infrastructures and services, including the Internet, play a vital role for society, and their disruption has the potential to cause huge economic damage, underlining the importance of measures to increase protection and resilience aimed at ensuring continuation of critical services;

3. Security incidents risk undermining user confidence. While severe disruptions of networks and information systems could have a major economic and social impact, everyday problems and nuisances also risk eroding public confidence in technology, networks and services;

4. The threat landscape is evolving and growing, which increases the need to provide end-users, businesses and governments with electronic communications infrastructures that are robust and resilient by default and to identify the right incentives for the providers to do so in a timely manner;

5. There is a need to enhance and embed Network and Information Security in all policy areas and sectors of society, and to address the challenge of ensuring sufficient skills via both national and European actions and raising awareness among users of information and communication technology (ICT);

6. The completion and functioning of the Internal Market will require that network owners and service providers cooperate across borders, given that possible disruptive events in one Member State may also affect other Member States and the EU as a whole;

7. New usage patterns, such as cloud computing and software as a service, put additional emphasis on the importance of Network and Information Security;

8. Network and Information Security serves the objective of all parties, in all sectors of society, to be able to trust the information systems, therefore a cross-sector and cross-border approach is needed;

9. With the increasing use of ICT in society, Network and Information Security is a prerequisite for the reliable, safe and secure delivery of public services, such as e- Government;

10. ENISA has the potential to build on the important role it already plays in Network and Information Security.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read Coulisses de Bruxelles, by Jean Quatremer, and other great euroblogs listed on multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.

EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS Directive): Learning the ropes

In the previous blog post, EU Audiovisual Media Services: History, amendments & consolidation (28 December 2009), we sketched the history from the Television without Frontiers Directive 1989 to the “new”, amending TVWF Directive 1997.


In this context we mentioned the consolidated version of the Directive. One of the many useful EU web resources for people willing to learn is the Europa Glossary, which offers more or less intelligible explanations of EU jargon and terms.

Here is what Europa Glossary has to say on consolidation of legislation (informal or declaratory):

There is a special procedure for unofficial, purely declaratory consolidation of legislation and simplification of legal instruments. The incorporation of subsequent amendments into the body of a basic act does not entail the adoption of a new instrument. It is simply a clarification exercise conducted by the Commission. The resulting text, which has no formal legal effect, can, where appropriate, be published in the Official Journal (C Series) without citations or recitals.

In other words, the consolidated version offers you the updated text of the Articles in force. In the 1997 consolidation, the text of Directive 97/36 had been inserted into Directive 89/552.

But if you need to know the Whys of the legal Act, you have read the Recitals (Whereas) of the original Act, as well as the Recitals of the amending Act(s) with regard to the reasons and scope of the amendments.

If you want to dig deeper, the Recitals offer you the legislative history of the Acts: “legal basis”, references to the Commission proposal, opinions and resolutions. For this you need either the original Acts or to access the files on the legislative processes on Pre-Lex or Oeil.

Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS Directive)

In this case, we knew that there was a further major amendment to the TVWF Directive(s). We knew the number of the original TVWF Directive 89/552 (the amending Directive 97/36) and the latest amending AVMS Directive 2007/65.

Since we were interested in the latest amendment, we tried the simple search on Eur-Lex, filling in Directive, year 2007 and number 65 for the amending Directive under Natural number.

The page offered us access to the Bibliographic notice, which gave us the procedure number COD/2005/0260 and the Commission’s original proposal COM(2005) 646, among other things. There was also a link to the European Parliament’s Legislative Observatory Oeil.

The procedure file on Oeil is a gold mine, because at one glance it offers a view of the Commission’s original and modified proposals, the Council’s position and the European Parliament’s Committee reports and resolutions.

Procedure and substance

This blog post tried to offer readers examples of how to navigate the legislative procedures, in order to access and to understand EEC/EC/EU legal acts.

Procedural understanding offers generally applicable tools for interested users, but this mini-series started from a genuine interest into the substance of developing EU regulation of television broadcasting and audiovisual services.

The time has come, I think, to turn to the substance of the latest amending act, the AVMS Directive.

This will be the aim of future posts, intertwined with procedural remarks, when called for.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read Julien Frisch and other great euroblog(ger)s listed on multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.

Monday 28 December 2009

EU Audiovisual Media Services: History, amendments & consolidation

In this blog post we set out on the long march from national television broadcasting monopolies towards a European internal market in audiovisual services, by looking at the history through the Television without Frontiers Directives 1989 and 1997.

At the same time, we offer first examples of how legal acts have been adopted and amended in the European Economic Community (EEC), the European Community (EC) and the European Union (EU), as well as how consolidated legislation helps readers to access legislation in force.

Television without Frontiers Directive 1989

In 1989, under the EEC Treaty, the Council adopted:

Council Directive 89/552/EEC of 3 October 1989 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by Law, Regulation or Administrative Action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities; published in the Official Journal 17.10.1989 L 298/23.

This Directive became known as the Television without Frontiers Directive, and it introduced some minimum standards applicable in all EEC member states.

The TVWF Directive was adopted by the Council, in cooperation with the European Parliament.

New Television without Frontiers Directive 1997

Now in the European Community (EC), the European Parliament was mentioned as a legislator together with the Council:

Directive 97/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 1997 amending Council Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities; published in the Official Journal 30.7.1997 L 202/60.

The Commission’s web pages offer summary explanations of the updated rules in the TVWF Directive, on General Provisions; Jurisdiction; Access of the Public to major (sports) events; Promoting the distribution of European Works; Television advertising, teleshopping and sponsorship; Protection of minors; Right of Reply.

Consolidation 1997

An original legal act, especially with major or plural amending acts are difficult to handle for users. Unofficial updated versions are often published on Eur-Lex, in order to let readers access the legislation in force.

For the convenience of users, an “amalgamated”, consolidated version of the 1989 Television without Frontiers Directive and the “new”, or amending 1997 TVWF Directive was published 30 July 1997, at the same time as the amending Directive: consolidated TVWF Directive.


In future blog posts we follow the development of EU television broadcasting (audiovisual services) rules until the situation today.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read Nosemonkey’s EUtopia and other great euroblogs listed on multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.

Sunday 27 December 2009

Congratulations, Grahnlaw!

Just thought that I might cheer myself up for 1,500 posts here on Grahnlaw, by congratulating myself. Who else would, anyway?

Remember to check the euroblogs listed on, and try to be nice to each other.

Ralf Grahn

EU Network and Information Security (NIS)

Have we humans always got our priorities right? If Santa Claus gets a parking ticket for his reindeer, it is front page news around the globe. But without information and communication technologies (ICT) in working order, even that news item would go nowhere. Actually, very little would function in our modern world without secure networks and information.

The 2987th Council meeting, in the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) configuration from 17 to 18 December 2009 (document 17456/09), adopted a resolution on network and information security (NIS), a brief mention on page 22:

Network and Information Security

The Council adopted a resolution on a collaborative European approach on network and information security (15841/09).

The resolution responds to the Commission's communication on this subject (8375/09), whose objective is to develop an EU policy on the protection of critical information infrastructure.

Secure information infrastructure got a three line mention, when the Swedish Council presidency summed up the results of the meeting for general consumption.

I am not out to criticise the brief mentions: They are geared towards the interests of the public, and most of the time we seem to look for more immediate pleasures, leaving critical, but “boring” work to specialists.

Resolution details

Council document 15841/09 Council Resolution on collaborative European approach on Network and Information Security – Adoption (dated 8 December 2009; 11 pages) recalls the establishment of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA; Regulation 1007/2008 amending Regulation 460/2004) and initiatives to protect Critical Information Infrastructures (CIIs).

The annexed resolution will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), but in the meantime we follow the Council document.

Among other things the Council underlines that (page 6):
A high level of Network and Information Security in the EU is needed in order to support:

a. the freedoms and rights of citizens, including the right to privacy;

b. an efficient society in terms of quality in information handling;

c. the profitability and growth of trade and industry;

d. citizens’ and organizations’ trust in information handling and ICT systems.

The resolution stresses the need to modernise and reinforce ENISA, and it invites the EU member states to undertake continued efforts to improve network and information security, including by creating Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).

The Commission is invited to support the efforts of the member states, for instance by evaluation and a possible NIS strategy.

ENISA is encouraged to work with all stakeholders, and these to put their best foot forward.

Commission communication

The basic underlying document was the Commissions Communication on Critical Information Infrastructure Protection "Protecting Europe from large scale cyber-attacks and disruptions: enhancing preparedness, security and resilience"; Brussels, 30.3.2009 COM(2009) 149 final (12 pages).

The Communication was accompanied by the Staff Working Document: Summary of impact assessment; Brussels 30.3.2009 SEC(2009) 400 (8 pages).

The full length Impact assessment SEC(2009) 399 came in three parts (addenda): Part 1 (Council document 8375/09 ADD 1; 149 pages), Part 2 (ADD 2; 133 pages) and Part 3 (ADD 3; 130 pages).

Preparation and hierarchy

We are able to see that a few vague sentences in the press releases from the Council and the Swedish presidency are just the tip of the iceberg.

The resolution itself is more detailed, although the phrases still resemble indistinct wishes for constructive action, as often is the case when we deal with cooperation and coordination between sovereign states.

Even when there is need for urgent action, herding 27 member states is a slow and laborious task, often spanning several Council presidencies.

The base of the iceberg is the preparatory work by the Commission, carefully researched and documented, often voluminous. Nosemonkey often stresses how incredibly dull the European Union is.

Few of us have cared to follow this far. We just expect our computers, networks and European Union to function, so that we can see if Santa wins the appeal against his parking ticket. We are all too human.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Get to know Jon Worth’s Euroblog and other great European blogs listed on multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.

Saturday 26 December 2009

Spanish presidency of EU Council 2010

After Sweden’s six months chairing the Council of the European Union, summed up in a blog post yesterday, the start of the Spanish presidency is just a few days off.

Spain becomes the first member state to steer Council work under Lisbon Treaty rules for the duration, and it is the first in the presidency trio consisting of Spain, Belgium and Hungary, which will take the EU until the end of June 2011.

The Spanish presidency website was launched a while ago, with basic information in Spanish, English and French. It promises to present information in the regional languages Catalan, Galician and Basque, although these pages are still in Spanish at the moment.

The pages offer an eight page summary of the Spanish work programme, which mentions the following four priorities:

• The first and essential priority for the development of the others is the full and effective application of the Lisbon Treaty.
• The second is to guarantee the economic recovery of Europe through greater co-ordination of every member state and the approval of the European strategy for sustainable growth for 2020.
• The third is to reinforce the presence and influence of the European Union in the new world order.
• Finally, the fourth is to place European citizens at the centre of EU policy, with initiatives designed to develop their rights and freedoms.

The summary of the work programme is available in Spanish as well.

More detail is on offer in the [Draft] 18 month programme of the Council, prepared by the Spanish, Belgian and Hungarian presidencies (Council document 16771/09; 89 pages).

Two RSS feeds are promised: Eventos (Events) and Noticias (News).

The Swedish presidency achieved the highest standard among EU presidencies yet, but at this stage it is impossible to predict the quantity and quality of the Spanish communications effort, including the use of social media and interactive features.

Devil’s advocate

Open Europe has published a briefing: The EU in 2010 – what to expect from the Spanish EU Presidency (18 December 2009; 24 pages).

The EU in 2010, an 18 December 2009 post on the Open Europe blog makes the unsurprising observation that the Spanish government wants to use its Presidency to achieve greater political, social and integration in Europe – to work for a more ‘unified’ EU.

The self-evident position for every member state signed up to the Lisbon Treaty and previous treaties to see European integration as an ongoing work, is described by Open Europe as being “fundamentally at odds with British priorities in the EU in 2010”.

I do not know which British government (?) priorities Open Europe refers to, or if the lobby group just assumes the role to be the sole voice for UK interests.

Anti-integrationist in a union aiming at closer integration: Why be on the team, if you want to play against it, Open Europe?

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Get to know the emerging EU blogosphere Margot Wallström wrote about, conveniently aggregated by multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.

EU telecoms: Reaping the digital dividend vs costs of non-Europe

The 2987th Council meeting, in the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) configuration from 17 to 18 December 2009 (document 17456/09), adopted conclusions on the digital dividend (page 22):

The digital dividend - Council conclusions

The Council adopted conclusions on transforming the digital dividend into social benefits and economic growth (17113/09).

The digital dividend is the result of the switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial television in Europe, which is expected to be finalised by the member states between now and the end of 2012. The purpose of the Council conclusions is to achieve a certain level of technical and political coordination among the member states with a view to harmonised use of the digital dividend.

The conclusions, in particular:

• highlight the fact that radio spectrum is a scarce resource that needs to be used efficiently,

• stress the importance of the digital dividend in helping to provide high-speed broadband services in rural areas,

• invite the member states to contribute to the development of a common EU approach towards spectrum coordination issues with third countries.

Council conclusions in detail

The summary conclusions referred to Council document 17113/09 Commission Communication - transforming the digital dividend into social benefits and economic growth - Adoption of Council conclusions (8 pages), where a background presentation is given with documentary references and the annexed Council conclusions agreed on are laid down in more detail.

The main issue is the more effective future use of the 800 MHz band for electronic communications services,

Commission proposal

The Council prefers to refer to its own document register, so he Commission communication “Transforming the digital dividend into social benefits and economic growth” transmitted to the Council on 30 October 2009 (document 15289/09) can be found through the register.

On the other hand, the same document can be found on the legal portal Eur-Lex, under Preparatory acts, choosing COM documents, then searching by year and number (if you know them exactly) or by year and month (if you know approximately).

Either way, the communication from the Commission: Transforming the digital dividend into social benefits and economic growth; Brussels, 28.10.2009 COM(2009) 586 final (12 pages), goes into much more detail to explain why the member states should act in a coordinated manner to reap the benefits of radio spectrum being freed for more valuable use than analogue terrestrial television broadcasting.

Coordinating action between sovereign member states is hard work even when highly beneficial, so the Commission distinguished clearly between those actions for which considerable support already existed, and which must be taken now to address the immediate policy objectives of economic growth and bridging the digital divide, and to provide clarity to Member States in the vanguard in the switch to digital, and those actions that required further discussion and agreement with the European Parliament and Council (cf. page 6).

One of the urgent measures was to achieve complete switch-off of analogue TV broadcasting by 2012 in the whole European Union. A second short term challenge was to design common principles (a template) regarding the use of the 800 MHz band of radio spectrum, an act of technical harmonisation (page 6 and 7).

Measures requiring long term strategic decisions included:

• Adoption of a common EU position with a view to more effective cross-border coordination with non-EU countries
• Achieving the EU-wide opening of the 790-862 MHz sub-band to electronic communications services
• Applying a minimum level of spectrum efficiency regarding future uses of the digital dividend

The Commission then turned to forward-looking initiatives that could lead to further increases in the potential size and usability of the digital dividend in the long term:

• Promoting collaboration between Member States to share future broadcasting network deployment plans (e.g. migration to MPEG-4 or DVB-T2).
• Requiring that all digital TV receivers sold in the EU after a certain date (to be defined) are ready to operate with a digital transmission compression standard of the new generation such as the H264/MPEG-4 AVC standard.
• Setting a minimum standard for the ability of digital TV receivers to resist interference (immunity to interference).
• Considering wider deployment of Single Frequency Networks (SFNs).
• Supporting research into ‘frequency-agile’ mobile communications systems.
• Ensuring the continuity of wireless microphone and similar applications by identifying future harmonised frequencies.
• Adopting a common position on the potential use of the ‘white spaces’ as a possible digital dividend.

Detailed studies

The fairly short official communication is available in the various official EU languages: here 22, i.e. all but Irish Gaelic.

As often is the case, the Commission’s proposals are accompanied and underpinned by more detailed studies. This time we find two Staff Working Documents:

Impact assessment SEC(2009) 1436 (47 pages), available in English

Executive summary of the impact assessment SEC(2009) 1437, available in 22 EU languages

This a common pattern: Legislative and other important proposals are translated into all official languages, as are summaries of the main findings, directed at officials of national administrations, enterprises of all sizes and the general public.

Lengthier background studies and the like, thought to be of interest to specialists mainly, are often made available only in English, perhaps in the Commission’s other working languages – French and German – as well.

Cost of non-harmonisation

The costs of membership in the European Union and of EU regulation are often denounced in strident tones, especially in Britain. One of the latest examples is a “study” by the anti-integrationist lobby group Open Europe: Top 100 EU regulations to cost UK economy £ 184 billion by 2020 (21 December 2009).

It is hard to find a word about the reasons for and especially the benefits of regulation, or reasoning about the relative merits of national and European level rules to protect life, health, workers, consumers, the environment, and so on.

This may or may not have been the reason for fellow blogger Nosemonkey to write the post Why regulating and legislating at an EU level is almost always a good thing (23 December 2009). Although Nosemonkey missed the possibility to reach Council decisions by qualified majority voting (QMV), his main argument about the benefits of common regulation hold true, and can actually be widened to cover businesses in addition to governments.

Let us take just one detail concerning an area few normal mortals even think about. The Commission’s study contains the following conclusion about the monetary value of the digital dividend:

One of the main conclusions of the Commission study is that the ‘private value’ that could be created if all Member States were to adopt the 790-862 MHz sub-band for electronic communications services under consistent conditions of use would be between at least EUR 17 billion and up to EUR 44 billion in the most optimistic case, depending on the assumed level of demand for different services.

Why is there so little talk about the costs of lacking European level regulation? Why is Open Europe’s propaganda taken at face value by so many?

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Get to know the emerging EU blogosphere Margot Wallström wrote about, conveniently aggregated by multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.

Friday 25 December 2009

Sum up of Swedish EU Council presidency 2009

Outcomes of the Swedish EU presidency (16 December 2009) is an excellent summary of the state of major European policy issues near the end of 2009, but the presidency web pages offer more detailed materials on the different EU policy areas (Council configurations) for interested readers.

The concluding European Parliament debate on the Swedish 6 month rotating presidency was positive in tone, as attested by the press release: Curtain falls [of] on Sweden’s eventful presidency (16 December 2009; with links to further information).

Getting the Lisbon Treaty into place, nominating José Manuel Barroso as president of the Commission, the rest of the Commissioners nominated, the new president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the new high representative/vice-president Catherine Ashton, financial supervision, Nordic discipline, transparency and innovative use of social media were recalled among the successes by EUobserver, Valentina Pop: Swedish EU presidency marked by ‘Nordic efficiency’ (23 December 2009).

The failure of the Copenhagen climate change summit COP15 was a setback for humanity and the United Nations, and a deep disappointment for Europe and for the Swedish presidency. The EU’s Environment Council made a first assessment in the presidency conclusions of the environment ministers’ meeting 22 December 2009, stressing the constructive will of the European Union (2988th Council meeting; document 17764/1/09 REV 1).

In the Financial Times, Tony Barber sums up the assessment of EU officials and diplomats: “Sweden ran a professional and level-headed presidency”; in EU cannot afford to rest on its laurels, warns Sweden (23 December 2009).

These evaluations are in line with the Sieps half-term report card and the comments here on Grahnlaw: Swedish EU Council presidency: Effective and professional (15 December 2009).

Traditionally, Sweden is a fairly “euro-skeptic” country with a preference for intergovernmental cooperation, but the Swedish government is pragmatic enough to see the need for “more Europe” instead of reinforcing antiquated national resistance bunkers. And they achieved a lot during their six months of fame.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Get to know the growing EU blogosphere Margot Wallström wrote about, conveniently aggregated by multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.

EU Telecommunications Council on post i2010 strategy: Towards a new digital agenda

From Santa Claus to the Magi, the European Union’s new digital strategy continues to take shape with the aim to bestow its gifts on the good children of Europe in the years to come.

Chaired by Sweden’s minister for communications, Åsa Torstensson, the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council configuration (TTE) arrived at conclusions regarding the post i2010 strategy at the 2987th Council meeting (17 to 18 December 2009; document 17456/09; page 21):


Post - i2010 strategy - Council conclusions

The Council held a policy debate on the future of the i2010 strategy, in order to give guidance to the Commission in drawing up a new digital agenda.

In particular, ministers set out their views regarding the priorities for a post-i2010 strategy which will aim to ensure growth, job creation and a sustainable EU, and ways to get citizens more involved in policy-making through the Internet and other social media. This new agenda is to be proposed by the new Commission in spring 2010 and debated under the Spanish presidency.

The Council adopted conclusions which list items that should be addressed in the new digital agenda for Europe (17107/09).

The conclusions underline inter alia:

• the importance of fostering the open, decentralised and dynamic nature of the Internet, promoting its further expansion,

• the importance of developing electronic identification arrangements that guarantee data protection and respect citizens’ privacy,

• accessibility for everyone is key to achieving an inclusive, empowering, knowledge-based society.

Summary and outline

The TTE Council’s conclusions refer to the document "Post-i2010 Strategy" - towards an open, green and competitive knowledge society - Adoption of Council conclusions (17107/09; 16 pages), which contains a brief summary of the preparatory work and the annexed conclusions on the EU’s coming digital agenda, including numerous documentary references.

The central message is that the scope of ICT policy will need to expand from enabling the information society towards maximising the way in which ICT (information and communications technology) contributes to the EU’s progress towards an open, green and competitive knowledge society.

Information and communications technologies are fundamental to the running of EU economies across all sectors, but significant barriers to implementing an ICT-based knowledge society and to establishing a well functioning internal market remain and need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

The conclusions presented more detailed principles with regard to:

• Broadband and the Internet
• Privacy, resiliency, security and trust
• Accessibility empowerment and inclusion

The TTE Council then laid special emphasis on:

• Boosting research and development, innovation and service creation (increasing the role of small and medium-sized companies; towards a well functioning European digital single market; content creation and re-use of public sector information)
• A globally competitive EU (including international development and Internet governance)
• Environmental sustainability (Green ICT, policy and research agenda; low energy use, cutting carbon emissions, use of public procurement)
• E-government (seamless e-Government services reinforcing mobility; open and interoperable standards)
• Benchmarking and evaluation (benchmarking frameworks)

The Telecoms ministers then invited the Commission to develop a New Digital Agenda for Europe, including high-speed broadband deployment, plans for innovation and digital development for increased competitiveness, as well as elimination of regulatory obstacles to cross-border on-line purchases.

The Council asked the Commission to report on its various consultations.

The Council invited the member states to reach 100% broadband by 2013 and to develop strategies for next generation networks (NGN). Efforts are needed for high speed mobile and wireless services; implementation of the revised regulatory framework for electronic communications, networks and services; the contribution of ICT to structural reforms for growth and jobs; reducing disparities in information society developments across Europe; the uptake of ICT by SMEs; ICT for transition to energy-efficient and low-carbon economies.

The Council then added wishes for joint action between the member states and the Commission, as well as invitations for contributions by stakeholders.

From Santa Claus to the Magi

The Council’s wish list was delivered by the Swedish presidency in time for Santa Claus, but work will continue after Los Reyes Magos (the Three Kings; the Magi; Epihany) during the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union, leading towards the spring European Council meeting, dedicated to economic reform issues on 25 March 2010.

The new digital agenda is an essential part of the overall economic reform strategy of the European Union: EU 2020.

Still, the real dividends will come only through dedicated work during the next five years, requiring efforts by the Commission ─ Neelie Kroes, other Commissioners and their services ─ the member states (Council) and the European Parliament, as well as researchers, businesses, citizens and consumers all over Europe.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Get to know the growing EU blogosphere Margot Wallström wrote about, conveniently aggregated by multilingual, our common “village well” for fact, opinion and gossip on European affairs.

Thursday 24 December 2009

Swedish presidency and EU Commission: preparing Digital Agenda

In an interview, Åsa Torstensson, the Swedish minister for communications, pointed out the potential for democratic participation through the Internet: IT is a democratic tool (17 December 2009).

Torstensson was referring to the Visby Agenda conference on the theme “Creating impact for an eUnion 2015” held on 9-10 November: A starting point for breaking down walls of ICT (10 November 2009) and Visby Agenda: creating impact for an eUnion 2015 (9 November 2009), as well as the report A Green Knowledge Society – An ICT agenda to 2015 for Europe’s future knowledge society (September 2009).


Ahead of the TTE Council meeting, the European Commission’s issued a press release: A new digital strategy for Europe on the agenda of the Telecoms Council, 18 December 2009 (Brussels, 17 December 2009 MEMO/09/560). The clear presentation of the background is worth repeating here:

The Telecoms Ministers of the 27 EU Member States will meet at the Telecoms Council in Brussels on 18 December 2009 to agree on priorities for a new European digital strategy in 2020. This strategy should help EU countries to recover from the financial and economic crisis, while speeding up the move towards a smart and green economy. The EU 2020 strategy will build on the successes of the Lisbon strategy since its relaunch in 2005 and address some of its shortcomings. The European Digital Agenda is one of the key elements announced by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, in his political guidelines for the new Commission ( IP/09/1272 ) and in the EU's future EU2020 strategy (IP/09/1807 ; see also SPEECH/ 09/336 ). At this Telecoms Council, the European Commission will be represented by Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media.
Main items on the agenda:

• Post-i2010 strategy: adoption of Council conclusions following a policy debate

• A collaborative European approach on network and information security: adoption of a Council Resolution

• Digital dividend: adoption of Council conclusions

European Digital Agenda (Post-i2010 strategy)


On 4 August 2009, the Commission adopted the Digital Competitiveness Report, which summarised the achievements of the i2010 strategy between 2005 and 2009 and launched a public consultation on possible priorities for a future strategy ( IP/09/1221 ). At the conference "Visby Agenda: creating impact for an eUnion 2015" organised on 9-10 November 2009 by the Swedish Presidency, EU Member States and the European Commission sought a common understanding of possible priorities for the forthcoming ICT agenda of the EU ( SPEECH/09/519 ). On 24 November 2009, President Barroso launched a consultation on the future "EU2020 strategy", in which the Digital Agenda was announced as one of the key initiatives to deliver on the EU's future strategic objectives ( IP/09/1807 ).

At this Council

EU Telecoms ministers will discuss the possible priorities for the EU's new Digital Agenda and will adopt Council conclusions. In particular, Ministers will be asked to express their views on the EU's new strategy to ensure sustainable growth and jobs' creation. They will also discuss the use of the internet in policy making processes to make these more open, efficient and user-friendly for European citizens.
A collaborative European approach on network and information security


As part of European efforts towards increased network and information security, the Council and the European Parliament adopted a Regulation on 24 September 2008 to extend the mandate of the European Network and Information Security Agency ( ENISA ) for three years until 2012. This was followed by the Commission's adoption of a Communication on 30 March 2009 on the protection of critical information infrastructures in the EU ( IP/09/494 ).

For the European Commission, the disruption or destruction of communication services and networks poses challenges at EU level because they are vital for the functioning of society and therefore need a high level of security and resilience. All stakeholders, from Member States to the private sector, have a role to play and should cooperate to enhance Europe's capability to cope with future security threats and challenges.

At this Council

The adoption of a Council Resolution on a collaborative European approach on network and information security brings the institutional debate on future network and information security policy to a conclusion. This Resolution provides the Commission with political guidelines for the forthcoming major initiative to boost network and information security in Europe.

Digital Dividend


On 28 October 2009, the Commission adopted a Communication "Transforming the digital dividend into social benefits and economic growth in Europe", calling on Member States to complete the switch-off of analogue TV by 1 January 2012 and outlining a common approach to the digital dividend in Europe that will become available as a result of the transition to digital TV ( IP/09/1595 ).

At this Council

Following an initiative of the Swedish Presidency of the European Union, the Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the Commission's proposal for the digital dividend, underlining the importance of a timely use of the digital dividend to contribute to economic recovery, strengthen competition, and stimulate innovation in both broadcasting and wireless services.

Other items on the agenda:

• Internet Governance: information from the Presidency on results achieved in the second half of 2009 (see also IP/09/1717 )
• Working programme of the incoming Presidency: the Spanish Presidency will present its priorities for the first half of 2010

TTE Council background note

The Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council (TTE) met on 17 and 18 December 2009, with the telecommunications session on the second day. Ahead of the meeting, the Press Office of the Council issued a background note with useful links to relevant documents. The telecommunications issues are found on the pages 11 to 13.

The background note can be read as an alternative to the Commission’s press release, or as a complement.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Find the growing EU blogosphere Margot Wallström wrote about, conveniently aggregated by multilingual

EU 2020 strategy and future Digital Agenda under work

For the time after the i2010 information society strategy, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the strategy for the coming five years. The consultation on the 2010-2015 strategy ran from 4 August to 9 October 2009, and the Commission received 834 responses.

The reference documents are available, but the publication of the summary of the outcome still lies in the future.

On the other hand, many of the same themes are found in the more general Consultation on the future “EU 2020” strategy (Brussels, 24.11.2009, COM(2009) 647 final; 13 pages), planned to take over from the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs. Here the consultation period runs until 15 January 2010.

The main themes are presented more briefly in the Commission’s press release (24 November 2009; IP/09/1807): a smarter, greener social market.

With the Telecoms Package signed and sealed, it was time for the European Union to look towards the future of electronic communications in Europe. (I would reserve the expression “delivered” for when the Directives have been transposed into national law, hopefully during the spring of 2011.)

In a coming post, we turn to recent information society policy developments during the Swedish presidency of the Council of the European Union, and by the Commission.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Find the growing EU blogosphere Margot Wallström wrote about, conveniently aggregated by multilingual

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Information society: EU’s i2010 strategy assessed

Launched in 2005, the aims of the EU’s i2010 strategy for information and communications technologies (ICT) were:

• To boost the single market for businesses and users by eliminating regulatory obstacles and enhancing regulatory consistency in the telecoms sector and for audiovisual media services (in particular TV and video-on-demand);

• To stimulate ICT research and innovation in Europe by pooling public and private research funding and focusing it on areas where Europe is or can become a global leader, such as on LTE (long-term evolution) mobile technology, which will revolutionise wireless broadband, or ESC (electronic stability control), which helps prevent car accidents in case of sudden manoeuvres or on slippery roads;

• To ensure that all citizens benefit from Europe’s lead in ICT, in particular through first-class online public services accessible to all; safer, smarter, cleaner and energy-efficient transport and by putting the cultural heritage of the EU at our fingertips by creating the European digital library.

The Commission notes (page 1):

ICT accounts for half of the rise in EU productivity and available high-speed broadband is key to new jobs, new skills, new markets and cutting costs. It is essential to businesses, public services and to making the modern economy work.

After recapitulating some of the more spectacular developments, the Commission gets down to a slightly more nuanced discussion of achievements and continually evolving challenges with regard to the objectives.

From the perspective of consumers and citizens, the “eYou Guide to your rights online” is worth mentioning. The web pages were launched in the spring of 2009, and the information is available in ten languages.

After hailing the progress, the i2010 report ends on a more sombre note (page 9): Europe is at risk of losing its competitive edge when it comes to new, innovative developments. Therefore Europe needs a new digital agenda to meet the emerging challenges. The Commission was about to launch a public consultation on the new digital agenda.

The summary report is useful for interested citizens as well as public administrations, researchers and businesses engaged in electronic communications and information society issues:

Commission: Europe’s Digital Competitiveness Report ─ Main achievements of the i2010 strategy 2005-2009; Brussels 4.8.2009 COM(2009) 390 final (12 pages).

The Digital Competitiveness Report was accompanied by the more detailed working documents SEC(2009) 1060, SEC(2009) 1103 and SEC(2009) 1104, which are of interest to professionals:

Europe's Digital Competitiveness Report - Main achievements of the i2010 strategy 2005-2009; Brussels, 4.8.2009, SEC(2009) 1060 final (27 pages)

Europe's Digital Competitiveness Report Volume 1: i2010 — Annual Information Society Report 2009 Benchmarking i2010: Trends and main achievements; Brussels, 4.8.2009, SEC(2009) 1103 final (112 pages)

Europe's Digital Competitiveness Report Volume 2: i2010 — ICT Country Profiles; Brussels, 4.8.2009, SEC(2009) 1104 final (68 pages)

All in all, the i2010 assessment package offered a valuable basis for the discussions and the consultation aiming at a new digital agenda for the European Union.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. European affairs and dimensions, EU politics and policies: For your convenience, multilingual already aggregates 495 euroblogs, offering a variety of themes and viewpoints.

European Union’s information society and media policies presented

Knowing the past and the present is key to the future, so we start by taking a look at how the European Commission presents its information society and media policies during the first Barroso Commission.

As an introduction, and as an overview for the general public, the European Commission has produced the glitzy ten page brochure: Creating a Single Competitive, Innovative and Borderless European Telecoms and Media Market for 500 Million Consumers – The achievements of Commission’s Information Society and Media Policies 2004-2009.

The flavour is in the tradition of the former Moscow VDNH – the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy – but in this case, with the huge progress made and the facts to prove it, one can almost forgive the Commission for the tone.

The brochure is a useful summary of significant developments during the last years, where the Commission has been one part of the forces for progress.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. For your convenience, multilingual already aggregates 495 euroblogs, offering a variety of themes and viewpoints on European politics and policies.

Tuesday 22 December 2009

EU Telecoms package: Commission’s declaration on net neutrality

The Wikipedia article Network neutrality offers an overview of the debated goal to achieve net neutrality.

In a speech on the development of new media markets, Viviane Reding, the member of the European Commission responsible for information society, mentioned network neutrality as one of the issues relevant for the coming Digital Agenda of the European Union (1 October 2009):

A further, fourth priority for Europe's Digital Agenda will be in my view to take a deeper look into network neutrality. When the telecoms package enters into force, it will give the European Commission and national regulators new instruments to ensure that the net will be open and neutral in Europe. This is a very important, and often underestimated achievement of the reform, and many European Parliamentarians, but also many ministers deserve the credit for having strengthened the corresponding wording in the package during the legislative process. I would like Europe to make good use of these new tools for enhancing net neutrality. I would therefore like to have, in 2010, a broad debate about how the Commission could best use these new instruments in the interest of an open internet and of internet users. It is true that Europe's telecoms framework, with its pro-competitive approach, has so far been an effective tool for tackling many problems with regard to net neutrality. I have myself indicated that I would be prepared to act on this basis in case of continued blocking of Voice over IP services by certain mobile operators. The new telecoms package is in many instances a quite robust answer to such new threats to net neutrality. However, I also know that technology and regulation will evolve further in the years to come. And I plan to be Europe's first line of defence whenever it comes to real threats to net neutrality. This should be spelt out in more detail in the European Digital Agenda that is scheduled for adoption in March next year.

As a part of the adoption of the European Union’s telecoms reform package, the EU Commission undertook a political obligation to monitor net neutrality closely:

Commission declaration on net neutrality, published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) 18.12.2009 C 308/2.

‘The Commission attaches high importance to preserving the open and neutral character of the Internet, taking full account of the will of the co-legislators now to enshrine net neutrality as a policy objective and regulatory principle to be promoted by national regulatory authorities ( 1 ), alongside the strengthening of related transparency requirements ( 2 ) and the creation of safeguard powers for national regulatory authorities to prevent the degradation of services and the hindering or slowing down of traffic over public networks ( 3 ). The Commission will monitor closely the implementation of these provisions in the Member States, introducing a particular focus on how the “net freedoms” of European citizens are being safeguarded in its annual Progress Report to the European Parliament and the Council. In the meantime, the Commission will monitor the impact of market and technological developments on “net freedoms” reporting to the European Parliament and the Council before the end of 2010 on whether additional guidance is required, and will invoke its existing competition law powers to deal with any anti-competitive practices that may emerge.’


( 1 ) Article 1(8)(g) of Directive 2009/140/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 337, 18.12.2009, p. 37).
( 2 ) Article 1(14) of Directive 2009/136/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 337, 18.12.2009, p. 11).
( 3 ) See footnote 2.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. For your convenience, multilingual already aggregates 495 euroblogs, offering a variety of themes and viewpoints on European politics and policies.

EU Telecoms reform: Radio Spectrum Policy Group revision

In line with the revision of the Framework Directive 2002/21 by the so called Better Regulation Directive 2009/140, the tasks of the Radio Spectrum Policy Group have been revised:

COMMISSION DECISION of 16 December 2009 amending Decision 2002/622/EC establishing a Radio Spectrum Policy Group (2009/978/EU). This text with EEA relevance was published OJEU 18.12.2009 L 336/50.

The adapted tasks are laid down in Article 2:

Article 2

The Group shall assist and advise the Commission on radio spectrum policy issues, on coordination of policy approaches, on the preparation of multiannual radio spectrum policy programmes and, where appropriate, on harmonised conditions with regard to the availability and efficient use of radio spectrum necessary for the establishment and functioning of the internal market.

Furthermore, the Group shall assist the Commission in proposing common policy objectives to the European Parliament and the Council, when necessary for ensuring the effective coordination of the interest of the European Union in international organisations competent in radio spectrum matters.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read why Julien Frisch recommends, the multilingual aggregator of euroblogs (18 December 2009).

Monday 21 December 2009

EU Telecoms package: “Citizens’ Rights Directive”

The existing EU regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services comprises five Directives, the Framework Directive and the Specific Directives:

• Framework Directive 2002/21/EC
• Access Directive 2002/19/EC
• Authorisation Directive 2002/20/EC
• Universal Service Directive 2002/22/EC
• Directive on privacy and electronic communications 2002/58/EC

This is how the European Commission set out the reason for amending the two Directives mentioned last, in its proposal 13.11.2007 COM(2007)0698:

The present legislative reform proposal adapts the regulatory framework by strengthening certain consumers’ and users’ rights (in particular with a view to improving accessibility and promoting an inclusive Information Society), and ensuring that electronic communications are trustworthy, secure and reliable and provide a high level of protection for individuals’ privacy and personal data. The proposal does not alter the current scope or concept of universal service in the EU, which will be subject to a separate consultation in 2008. It is in line with the Commission’s Better Regulation Programme, which is designed to ensure that legislative interventions remain proportionate to the political objectives pursued, and forms part of the Commission’s overall strategy to strengthen and complete the internal market.

More specifically, the objectives of the present proposal are two-fold:

1. Strengthening and improving consumer protection and user rights in the electronic communication sector, through — amongst other aspects —giving consumers more information about prices and supply conditions, and facilitating access to and use of e-communications, including emergency services, for disabled users; and

2. Enhancing the protection of individuals’ privacy and personal data in the electronic communications sector, in particular through strengthened security-related provisions and improved enforcement mechanisms.

In the first reading report A6-0318/2008, the European Parliament Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (rapporteur Malcolm Harbour) was generally supportive of the Commission’s proposal, but tabled amendments with regard to a number of issues:

- Clarified the pre contractual information requirements
- Broadened the information and transparency provisions
- Added new provisions for consumers to be given information on their legal obligations in using a service (especially respect of copyright) and the adoption of security safeguards
- Reinforced the service provisions for disabled users
- Made detailed amendments related to “112” emergency number availability and caller location
- Clarified and simplified the quality of service requirements
- More clearly defined the responsibility of National Regulators for day to day market enforcement of consumer rights, removing some of the proposed Commission responsibilities in these areas.
- Removed provisions for support of the “3883” numbering space, for which very limited consumer demand is now foreseen with the evolution of nomadic “Voice over Network” services.

After the customary dance steps between the EP, the Council and the Commission, the proposal became factually ready for adoption, but it had to wait for the conciliation process regarding the whole Telecoms package before formal adoption.

The process can be studied in detail through the Legislative Observatory of the European Parliament, under procedure COD/2007/0248.

Directive 2009/136

The Universal Service Directive 2002/22/EC and the Directive on privacy and electronic communications 2002/58/EC have now been reformed. Regulation 2006/2004 on consumer protection cooperation was also amended:

of 25 November 2009 amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services, Directive 2002/58/EC concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws
. This text with EEA relevance was published OJEU 18.12.2009 L 337/11.

The EU member states have until 25 May 2011 to transpose the “Citizens’ Rights Directive” into national law.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read why Julien Frisch recommends, the multilingual aggregator of euroblogs (18 December 2009).

Sunday 20 December 2009

EU Services Directive: Transposition (Sweden and Finland)

The member states of the European Union have had three years to turn the EU’s Services Directive 2006/123 into national law. But with the transposition period drawing to a close in a few days, on 27 December 2009, a majority of the countries have still not reported on the needed execution measures, if we look at what the EU web pages tell us.

No national execution measures have been reported (or updated) with regard to Sweden and Finland, but is the situation on the ground as bad as it looks?

Commission & Eur-Lex

The Commission’s Services Directive News page gives the impression that the transposition record in the EU member states is far from complete, as does the web page on Implementation. The Eur-Lex web page on National Execution Measures contains details on only a minority of the member states.

Issue 56 of Single Market News (2009-4) has an article on the challenging transposition of the EU’s Services Directive and accompanying legislation into national law (page 6-7).

Reported transposition measures may be insufficient, but on the other hand, the updating of the web pages might lag behind, and the situation may not be as gloomy as at first glance.


For example, no reference was available on the National Execution Measures page with regard to Sweden, but if we check the Swedish legal data base SFS, we see an Act and a Regulation on services in the internal market, both published 24 November 2009:

Lag om tjänster på den inre marknaden (SFS 2009:1079)

Förordning on tjänster på den inre marknaden (SFS 2009:1078)


The Finnish parliament adopted the government’s proposal on 3 December and sent its response to the government on 8 December 2009. On 17 December the government remitted the acts to the president for signature into law, so they have been approved although not promulgated as yet (Eduskunnan vastaus 213/2009 – HE 216/2009 vp; Valtioneuvoston yleisistunto 17.12.2009).

In other words, the situation may be better than the impression we get from the EU web pages.

Services Directive

The Services Directive 2006/123:

DIRECTIVE 2006/123/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market, published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) 27.12.2006 L 376/36.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read why Julien Frisch recommends, the multilingual aggregator of euroblogs (18 December 2009).

EU telecoms package: “Better regulation”

The adopted EU Telecoms package modernises the legal framework for electronic communications and services in the European Union.

The existing EU regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services comprises five Directives, the Framework Directive and the Specific Directives:

• Framework Directive 2002/21/EC
• Access Directive 2002/19/EC
• Authorisation Directive 2002/20/EC

• Universal Service Directive 2002/22/EC
• Directive on privacy and electronic communications 2002/58/EC

“Better Regulation Directive”

One part of the EU telecoms reform package was the overhaul of the three first directives mentioned above, namely the Framework Directive 2002/21/EC, the Access Directive 2002/19/EC and the Authorisation Directive 2002/20/EC:

DIRECTIVE 2009/140/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 25 November 2009 amending Directives 2002/21/EC on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services, 2002/19/EC on access to, and interconnection of, electronic communications networks and associated facilities, and 2002/20/EC on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services. This text with EEA relevance was published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) 18.12.2009 L 337/37.


All but the most hardened readers might find the 76 recitals presenting the reasons for the reform and the text of the adopted amendments in Directive 2009/140 hard going, so here are a few references to more digestible materials.

Publication in the Official Journal was accompanied by a press release from the Commission, with links to earlier statements: New Telecoms Rules enter into force (IP 09/1966; 18 December 2009).

Commissioner Viviane Reding’s speech 23 November 2009 outlines the Commission’s view on regulatory issues in the electronic communications markets.

The European Commission’s proposals during the two year process are available on the web page: Legislative proposals.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read why Julien Frisch recommends, the multilingual aggregator of euroblogs (18 December 2009).

Saturday 19 December 2009

Single Market News 2009-4 on line

The European Commission’s quarterly publication Single Market News No 56 – 2009-4 is on line, with the following contents on developments in the internal market:


News in Brief

Services Directive hits the finishing line

Interview with Commissioner Charlie McCreevy

First Single Market Award goes to a Portuguese citizen

Derivatives: What are we dealing with?

Seconded National Experts in DG MARKT: real assets part 2

What is Europe’s answer to Google Books?

Getting better access to business information

John Monks visits DG MARKT

Banks will help you switch bank accounts

Setting end-dates for Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)

Simplified procedures for claiming cross-border withholding tax relief

For your diary

Infringements related to the Single Market

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read why the engaged, but critical European Julien Frisch recommends, the multilingual aggregator of euroblogs (18 December 2009).

Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)

Pan-European telecoms markets take one step towards more consistent regulation at EU level, by the establishment of a Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), replacing the European Regulators Group (ERG) during the spring of 2010.


REGULATION (EC) No 1211/2009 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 25 November 2009 establishing the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the Office. This text with EEA relevance was published OJEU 18.12.2009 L 337/1.

The aim of the Regulation 1211/2009 is to strengthen European Regulators Group (ERG) and its recognition in the EU regulatory framework as the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). BEREC is not a Community agency, nor does it have legal personality. BEREC replaces the ERG and acts as an exclusive forum for cooperation among national regulatory authorities (NRAs), and between NRAs and the Commission, in the exercise of the full range of their responsibilities under the EU regulatory framework. BEREC provides expertise and establishes confidence by virtue of its independence, the quality of its advice and information, the transparency of its procedures and methods of operation, and its diligence in performing its tasks:



Article 1

1. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) is hereby established with the responsibilities laid down in this Regulation.

2. BEREC shall act within the scope of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive) and Directives 2002/19/EC, 2002/20/EC, 2002/22/EC and 2002/58/EC (Specific Directives), and of Regulation (EC) No 717/2007.

3. BEREC shall carry out its tasks independently, impartially and transparently. In all its activities, BEREC shall pursue the same objectives as those of the national regulatory authorities (NRAs), as set out in Article 8 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive). In particular, BEREC shall contribute to the development and better functioning of the internal market for electronic communications networks and services, by aiming to ensure a consistent application of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications.

4. BEREC shall draw upon expertise available in the NRAs and shall carry out its tasks in cooperation with NRAs and the Commission. BEREC shall promote cooperation between NRAs, and between NRAs and the Commission. Furthermore, BEREC shall advise the Commission, and upon request, the European Parliament and the Council.



Article 2
Role of BEREC

BEREC shall:

(a) develop and disseminate among NRAs regulatory best practice, such as common approaches, methodologies or guidelines on the implementation of the EU regulatory framework;

(b) on request, provide assistance to NRAs on regulatory issues;

(c) deliver opinions on the draft decisions, recommendations and guidelines of the Commission, referred to in this Regulation, the Framework Directive and the Specific Directives;

(d) issue reports and provide advice, upon a reasoned request of the Commission or on its own initiative, and deliver opinions to the European Parliament and the Council, upon a reasoned request or on its own initiative, on any matter regarding electronic communications within its competence;

(e) on request, assist the European Parliament, the Council, the Commission and the NRAs in relations, discussions and exchanges with third parties; and assist the Commission and NRAs in the dissemination of regulatory best practices to third parties.

Article 3
Tasks of BEREC1.

The tasks of BEREC shall be:

(a) to deliver opinions on draft measures of NRAs concerning market definition, the designation of undertakings with significant market power and the imposition of remedies, in accordance with Articles 7 and 7a of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive); and to cooperate and work together with the NRAs in accordance with Articles 7 and 7a of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive);

(b) to deliver opinions on draft recommendations and/or guidelines on the form, content and level of details to be given in notifications, in accordance with Article 7b of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive);

(c) to be consulted on draft recommendations on relevant product and service markets, in accordance with Article 15 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive);

(d) to deliver opinions on draft decisions on the identification of transnational markets, in accordance with Article 15 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive);

(e) on request, to provide assistance to NRAs, in the context of the analysis of the relevant market in accordance with Article 16 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive);

(f) to deliver opinions on draft decisions and recommendations on harmonisation, in accordance with Article 19 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive);

(g) to be consulted and to deliver opinions on cross-border disputes in accordance with Article 21 of Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive);

(h) to deliver opinions on draft decisions authorising or preventing an NRA from taking exceptional measures, in accordance with Article 8 of Directive 2002/19/EC (Access Directive);

(i) to be consulted on draft measures relating to effective access to the emergency call number 112, in accordance with Article 26 of Directive 2002/22/EC (Universal Service Directive);

(j) to be consulted on draft measures relating to the effective implementation of the 116 numbering range, in particular the missing children hotline number 116000, in accordance with Article 27a of Directive 2002/22/EC (Universal Service Directive);

(k) to assist the Commission with the updating of Annex II to Directive 2002/19/EC (Access Directive), in accordance with Article 9 of that Directive;

(l) on request, to provide assistance to NRAs on issues relating to fraud or the misuse of numbering resources within the Community, in particular for cross-border services;

(m) to deliver opinions aiming to ensure the development of common rules and requirements for providers of cross-border business services;

(n) to monitor and report on the electronic communications sector, and publish an annual report on developments in that sector.

2. BEREC may, upon a reasoned request from the Commission, decide unanimously to take on other specific tasks necessary for the accomplishment of its role within the scope defined in Article 1(2).

3. NRAs and the Commission shall take the utmost account of any opinion, recommendation, guidelines, advice or regulatory best practice adopted by BEREC. BEREC may, where appropriate, consult the relevant national competition authorities before issuing its opinion to the Commission.


Information about the work of the European Regulators Group (ERG) is on offer on the ERG web site, including the IRG/ERG Work Programme 2010:

Under the changes to the regulatory framework, BEREC will replace ERG early in 2010. BEREC will have a statutory duty to consult on its work programme. As this cannot be done until BEREC is brought into being, the IRG/ERG Work Programme will provide the foundation for the eventual BEREC work programme.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Read why Julien Frisch recommends, the multilingual aggregator of euroblogs (18 December 2009).