The Bundesrat

Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012

Scrutiny details

Subsidiarity deadline: 07/11/2013
Scrutiny Information

Scrutiny date: 26/03/2014

Subsidiarity Concern:

No Important information to exchange

No Veto

Information on parliamentary scrutiny

Referred to Committees on:

European Union Questions
Agricultural Policy and Consumer Protection
Internal Affairs
Cultural Affairs
Economic Affairs

Lisbon Treaty procedures
  Political Dialogue

29/11/2013 | Scrutiny results - COM20130627

Concerning the proposal to achieve a Connected Continent, the Bundesrat has issued a very critical view. Although it supports the Commission's aim to strengthen the internal market in the field of electronic communication, it is skeptical about the proposed regulation and its provisions. In particular, it fears that the review of four directives by one regulation will lead to application problems. With the exception of roaming fees, it expresses its opposition to adopting rules by a regulation. Instead, the Bundesrat would prefer the adoption of a recommendation pursuant to Article 288 TFEU.

The Bundesrat devotes a large part of its view to the problem of net neutrality. It considers that the actual proposal does not guarantee equal access and discretionary participation of all citizens to the internet, which is the central medium of the informed society. The Bundesrat is especially of the view, that all data within electronic communication has to be treated equally, independently of its content, its service, its application, its operator, its origin or its destination. Exceptions to this principle of net neutrality should only be admitted in a very narrow and detailed fixed number of cases - and the present proposal does not sufficiently respect these requirements.
The Bundesrat also stresses the importance of the best-effort-principle - which is one of the essential pillars of the free internet and essential for freedom, innovation and pluralism of media. The provisions in the present proposal do not, in its view, respect this in an adequate manner.

With regard to the level of harmonization, the Bundesrat would prefer to set only a minimum standard of harmonization within the proposal, allowing Member States to adopt more strict provisions in order to ensure a high level of consumer protection. In this context, it is critical of the provisions of the proposal concerning the protection of personal data, and considers them inadequate. The obligation set out in Article 25 paragraph 4 of the proposal is of particular concern, given that communication operators are obliged to transmit information to the user on official request in the case of "public interest". This raises considerable doubts under the rule of law.
Likewise, the Bundesrat rejects the position of the proposal to treat frequencies only as an economic good. It recalls in particular their importance for the transmission of cultural goods, for example in the field of broadcasting.

Finally, the Bundesrat recommends that the Commission should withdraw its proposal and start an intense discussion with the Member States and national regulation authorities, in order to determine the scope and specifics of necessary modifications to the existing telecommunications regulatory framework.

Please find the view adopted by the Bundesrat (BR-Drs 689/13 (Beschluss)) in German enclosed.

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