Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Oettinger at Telecoms Council to discuss key Digital Single Market initiatives

Today, the Council of Ministers in charge of telecoms is set to make significant progress regarding key Digital Single Market initiatives. Both Vice-President for Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Günther H. Oettinger, are participating in the meeting. This morning, the Council was progressing towards a general approach on the proposal to reduce wholesale roaming charges – the prices that operators charge each other for the use of their networks – and discussed the fair use principle that protects customers better while providing sound safeguards for operators against potential abuses. Another important decision – adoption of a partial general approach – is expected this afternoon regarding the Commission’s WiFi4EU proposal. Ministers also had an important debate on the initiatives of the Commission to boost connectivity, including the overhaul of the EU telecoms framework, and will review progress on the Commission’s proposal to make parcel delivery more efficient and affordable. They will discuss the free flow of data in the EU, in view of the Commission’s initiatives on data to be presented in January. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “We need to move forward swiftly with our initiatives to create a Digital Single Market, and I really welcome the progress made by the Slovak Presidency of the EU. Member States are now progressing towards an agreement on wholesale roaming charges, a necessary step to start negotiations with the European Parliament and to deliver on our commitment to end roaming charges for European travellers as of June 2017. We’ll also get closer to a wider offer of free Wi-Fi in the EU. We have now to ensure that the EU has the high-capacity networks it will need in the future. We also have to make sure that data can move freely across borders: I rely on the strong support of Member States and I am confident that the Maltese Presidency of the EU will keep up the pace”.