Letter from the Minister for Competitiveness
(Mr Alan Johnson) at the Department of Trade and Industry to the
Chairman of the Committee
I am writing to inform you of the outcome of the
Telecommunications Council of Ministers meeting that took place
in Brussels on 22 December.
There was a substantive debate about how to reduce
the limits to the reserved area for posts. Discussion focused
on Presidency proposals that sought to reconcile the original
draft directive from the Commission, the different views of Member
States and the opinion of the European Parliament. One of the
key areas of contention was whether it was possible to set now
a date and timetable for full liberalisation of the postal market.
The Presidency concluded that an agreement was not yet possible
and discussions will therefore continue under the Swedish presidency.
On proposed legislation arising from the European
Commission's 1999 communications review, the Presidency concluded
that a common orientation was not yet possible on Articles 6 (consultation
and transparency) and 13 (significant market power) of the Directive
on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications
networks and services. There was also a Presidency progress report
on the remaining elements of the 1999 review. Negotiations on
these proposals will therefore continue under the Swedish Presidency.
The Council agreed a Decision to create a programme
to encourage and develop European content on the Internet and
promote a multilingual information society.
There was a report from the Presidency on actions
taken during the last six months to implement telecommunications
related parts of the eEurope Action Plan.
The Commission presented its sixth report on the
implementation of the current telecommunications regulatory package,
and the proposed Regulation for a .eu top-level domain
name. The Commission also presented a Communication on the results
of the World Radio Conference and looked forward to a forthcoming
Communication on cybercrime.
I am writing in similar terms to Lord Tordoff and
copying this letter to the Leader of the House of Commons, Keith
Vaz, the Chief Whip of the House of Commons, Sir Richard Wilson
and the Clerk to your Committee.
15 January 2001.