Telecommunications Ministers discussed roaming charges and postal servicesThe Telecommunications Ministers of the European Union discussed roaming charges and the directive on postal services at their Council meeting in Brussels on 11 December. Information security also featured on their agenda.
The Council held a thorough discussion about how to regulate prices of mobile phone calls made from abroad. The aim of the regulation would be to achieve fast and significant price reductions for the benefit of all consumers. The Ministers exchanged views on whether regulation of wholesale prices would be enough or if retail prices were also to be regulated.
The next holder of the EU Presidency, Germany, said that reductions in roaming charges would be one of its priorities. If all goes well, the matter can be taken forward already next summer.
The ministers prepared the groundwork for achieving an internal market for postal services from the beginning of 2009. In their discussions they emphasised that the basic postal services must remain generally available during the process.
The Member States stressed the importance of information security in the development of the information society. The aim is to raise awareness of information security, strengthen R&D activities and put more emphasis on risk management. All parties involved in the sector must be encouraged to pay attention to information security issues when designing products and services.
Spectrum policy was the main theme at the Ministers' dinner. The need to promote the introduction of mobile television in all EU countries featured in the discussions.
The Commission briefed the Council about the state of the project to adopt a single Europe-wide phone number for reporting missing children. It is foreseen that the number will be 116 000.
Ms Susanna Huovinen, Minister of Transport and Communications of Finland, presided over the meeting on both days. She was pleased that the Council was able to speed up the measures for increasing trust in electronic services, and with the commitment to reduce roaming charges.
Mr Perttu Puro, State Secretary, tel. +358 40 779 3436
Ms Kristiina Pietikäinen, Deputy Director-General of Communications Department, tel. +358 40 522 2122
Ms Katariina Kivistö, Director of Press and Information, (present at the meeting), tel. +358 400 502 128