AUTHORISATION OF TELECOMS NETWORKS AND
Draft Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services.
||Article 95; co-decision; qualified majority voting
||Trade and Industry|
|Basis of consideration:
||SEM and Minister's letter of 19 March 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
||HC 23-xxix (1999-2000), paragraph 17 (15 November 2000)
|To be discussed in Council:
||4-5 April 2001|
8.1 This proposal is one of seven that will
form the new regulatory framework for electronic communications
networks and services. They were anticipated in the Commission
Communication on the results of the public consultation on the
1999 Communications Review which we considered on 24 May and 19
and which was debated in European Standing Committee C on 16 February
8.2 This proposal sets out a harmonised
regulatory framework for the authorisation of electronic communications
networks and services across the European Community. The intention
is to exclude the regulation of broadcast content from the scope
of the proposal. It would replace the current Licensing Directive
97/13/EC on a common framework for general authorisations and
Scrutiny and the timetable
8.3 We considered the proposal on 15 November
2000 but did not clear it as it was still subject to negotiation.
We asked the Minister to bring us up to date before the proposal
was put to a Council with a view to reaching political agreement
on it. The Swedish Presidency now aims to reach political agreement
on the proposal at the 4-5 April Telecoms and Transport Council
and a Common Position on it at the 27-28 June Telecoms and Transport
Council. The European Parliament had its first reading on the
proposal on 1 March.
The Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum (SEM)
8.4 In her SEM of 19 March, the Minister
for Small Business and E-Commerce at the Department of Trade and
Industry (Ms Patricia Hewitt) says that the Government is satisfied
that the results to date in the Council Working Group have addressed
the main concerns she set out in her Explanatory Memorandum of
10 October 2000.
She says that:
States are agreed that spectrum trading should be permitted in
accordance with the provisions of the proposed Framework Directive
...; and that
" Member States are agreed on the
conditions and procedures that can be applied to the use of radio
spectrum. The Government believes that these now strike the right
balance between limiting conditions to the minimum necessary and
ensuring the effective management of spectrum."
8.5 The Minister says that only one issue
remains outstanding at the time of writing:
" while some
Member States share the belief that recoverable administrative
charges should fund all activities undertaken by national regulatory
authorities (NRAs) under the new framework, the Swedish Presidency
has received broad support for a compromise proposal that would
cover costs necessarily incurred but not those associated
with justifiable activities undertaken at NRAs' discretion.
The Government does not consider this outcome to be ideal but,
if there is little likelihood of securing suitable amendments
at the 4 April Telecoms Council, would accept it as a significant
improvement over the current rules, established in the Licensing
Directive, which restrict cost recovery to the management, control
and enforcement of the licensing regime."
8.6 We thank the Minister for bringing
us up to date with the state of negotiations on this proposal.
We accept the Government's intention to vote for the Swedish Presidency
compromise, if a more satisfactory outcome is not achievable,
and now clear this document.
35 (21189) 8330/00; see HC 23-xix (1999-2000), paragraph
7 (24 May 2000) and HC 23-xxv (1999-2000), paragraph 8 (19 July
Official Report, European Standing Committee C, 16 February
10979/00; see headnote to this paragraph. Back
10962/00; see paragraph 5 of this Report. Back