EU telecoms ministers have confirmed their commitment to EU policies on ICT. Meanwhile, seven Member States face legal action for failing to transpose the regulatory framework.
e-Europe: Ministers endorsed the mid-term review
of the e-Europe 2005 Action Plan as presented by the Commission in
EURACTIV, 24 February
2004). An adjusted plan will be presented by
the Commission to the June European Council.
Broadband: Member States who have not yet prepared
their national broadband strategies are invited to do so before the
Commission publishes a Communication on the subject in May.
National broadband strategies were to be handed to the Commission
by end 2003 at the latest but many still appear to be missing. The
Commission declined to give precise numbers. Meanwhile, new
statistics on broadband penetration published on 9 March show an
encouraging upward trends, climbing up to an average of 6 per cent
throughout the EU.
3G: Network deployment remains the top priority
for this nascent industry. A Commission Communication is expected
Spam: Action is to focus on enforcement of the
‘opt-in’ system for unsolicited commercial communications by Member
States. A working party will seek common interpretation of the
opt-in rules given that complying with the ‘opt-in’ system has
sometimes proved problematic for businesses (see EURACTIV’s newly
updated LinksDossier on
Privacy and data protection in
the telecoms sector). National
implementation policies are to be made available on the
Commission’s website in the future.
- WSIS: the United Nation’s
World Summit on Information Society(WSIS) concluded in
December 2003 with the adoption of a fairly weak plan of action and
declaration of principles in support of ambitious goals (see
EURACTIV, 15 December
2003). The Commission and the Member States
are invited to prepare for the second round of the summit in
November 2005, and in particular to take part in the UN’s Task
Force on Financing and Working Group on Internet Governance. The
Commission is to report on the preparations for the second phase of