The European Commission rushed a stakeholder consultation on the new EU Telecoms Regulation (Telecoms Package) and failed even by its own standards to conduct a thorough impact assessment. These damning comments come, not from an activist group, but from the European Parliament in a formal analysis that will be discussed in Committee meetings this week. The document, seen by Iptegrity, also states that the Commission failed to make changes to the document, despite being asked three times to so before issuing it.
The analysis comes from the estorically-titled Ex-Ante Impact Assessment Unit of the European Parliament. It take a critical look at the Impact Assessment that accompanies the proposed new Telecoms Regulation (officially called Proposal on a European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and also referred to as the new Telecoms Package).
Why it’s important is that the Commission is obligated to follow certain steps before issuing new legislation. One of those steps is to conduct a stakeholder consultation where all those who have an interest in the legislation may input their comments. Another step is to write an impact assessment of the draft proposals. The Impact Assessment should clearly explain the objectives. It should also explain how the new legislation will improve on the existing, and outline the shortcomings of the existing legislation.
The European Parliament’s appraisal of the Commission’s Impact Assessment for the Connected Continent Regulation states in no uncertain terms that it fails on both counts. It says that ‘no systematic public consultation was undertaken’. Furthermore ‘the Commission acknowledges that ‘due to time constraints a full (12 weeks) public consultation could not be organised’
The Commission is further taken to task for failing to clarify how the fragmentation of the telecoms market, as it is as present, has affected supply and demand for cross-border services. Given that one of the criticism of the Connected Continent proposal relates to the attempt to beef up cross-border service provision, this omission would seem to be quite serious.
Moreover, the Commission was told three times by its own internal review body, to improve its description of the Connected Continent policy options.
The European Parliament’s appraisal will be the discussed in the IMCO committee and the ITRE committee this week.
The new Telecoms Regulation (Connected Continent) is controversial because it contains a provision that would permit the priotisation of content, in violation of net neutrality, and because of the way it proposes to re-structure the European telecoms market, where it appears to favour consolidation. The time constraints that hampered the European Commission will have been the desire to get the legislation into the Parliament in time for a possible adoption before the European elections next June. However, for the moment, Connected Continent looks rather dis-connected.
For background on the 2009 Telecoms Package see my book The Copyright Enforcement Enigma Internet Politics and the Telecoms Package
This is an original article from Iptegrity.com and reflects research that I have carried out. If you refer to it or to its content, please cite my name as the author, and provide a link back to iptegrity.com. Media and Academics – please cite as Monica Horten, 2013, New telecoms rules: EU Commission had no time to consult 3 November 2013. Commercial users - please contact me.