Conciliation committee members have one week to prepare for their first meeting. Is this a set-up? What was the deal with the Council?
The Telecoms Package is moving forward to a Third Reading, known as "Conciliation", on the basis of an unofficial communication from the Swedish Presidency*. Apparently, the Swedes have told the European Parliament that they cannot accept "certain amendments in the Trautmann report".
However, there is no
clarification as to what "certain amendments " are. We assume they mean Amendment 138, which seeks to protect users rights to Internet services and applications.
However, it is important to understand whether that is the case, and on what basis they object. How can the Parliament determine a mandate for its representatives to negotiate if they do not know what the objection is?
Alternatively, the assumption has to be that an agreement has already been made and it has been determined that MEPs do not need to know, because they will be told what to do!
So the question must be asked, what is it the Council objects to? My understanding is that a call for clarification has been put forward by the Green group, which includes the Swedish Pirate Party MEP Christian Engstrom.
What is also concerning, is that the date of meeting has actually been in the diary since last June. I was given the date of 29th September back then. However, the call for members of the committee was only put out last week. The Committee was decided this week - so quickly that I missed it, having been out of the office for a day.
And the new Committee members have to decide the scope of the negotiations at a preparatory meeting next Monday!!
This is far too rushed for such a complex piece of legislation - it is so complex that the lawyers at the conference I was at on Monday, had not read the Telecoms Package and did not know the nature of some of the amendments, on the basis that it is too big a job!
If telecoms lawyers cannot deal with it, how can MEPs be expected to take decisions in a week?
Questions should be asked as to who has stitched this up, and what is the deal?
The list of MEPs on the Conciliation Committee is available on the La Quadrature du Net website. It includes the voting record from the Second Reading, for each MEP.
La Quadrature du Net points out that what is at stake with the Telecoms Package is net neutrality, and the right of European citizens to access and distribute material on the Internet without interference from government or corporations. Copyright is one issue within that broader context. La Quadrature has called on EU citizens to contact their MEPs asking them to protect net neutrality and to ensure that the full scope of citizens rights is addressed in the Third Reading.
*Note: technically the Telecoms Package is still in the Council's Second Reading. However, to all intents and purposes, it is now moving into the Third Reading and that is the purpose of the Conciliation committee. Any attempt to say otherwise, is just an attempt to draw a veil over the real, underlying issues which are controversial and from a policy perspective, critical.
As per my previous article, Telecoms Package to be decided over dinner! there is an attempt to manipulate the process, in order to press through the Council's desired outcome.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial-Share Alike 2.5 UK:England and Wales License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ It may be used for non-commercial purposes only, and the author's name should be attributed. The correct attribution for this article is: Monica Horten (2009) Telecoms Package - what's the deal? http://www.iptegrity.com 24 September 2009.