There have been significant technological developments in the last decade when it comes to methods of communication. This has led us to not only become increasingly reliant on our devices, but has also facilitated an attitude amongst many European citizens that being connected to the internet at all times, wherever they may be, as an necessity rather than an optional bonus. Consequently, the issue of connectivity has become more salient in Europe than ever before, playing an ever important economic role on a supranational scale.
This has been recognised in a vote that took place in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 14th November, where members voted in favour of establishing a European Electronic Communications Code, as part of the Digital Single Market strategy which was proposed by the European Commission in September 2016. This is alongside approving the introduction of having a European regulatory body in place to provide oversight on electronic communication. Once the Council of the EU has provided its final approving, all EU member states will have a period of two years in order to implement the directive into their national legislation.
But what will the European Electronic Communication code mean for European citizens? The European Commission’s Vice-President for Digital Single Market strategy, Andrus Ansip, and the Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel released a joint statement as a result of the positive vote that took place in Strasbourg stating that:
“The new telecoms rules that will now be put in place as a result, are an essential building block for Europe’s digital future and a source of new digital rights for European citizens. They are crucial for meeting Europeans’ growing connectivity needs and boosting Europe’s competitiveness. “
This means that EU citizens will be able to benefit from things such as:
- price caps on intra-EU, cross border calls, capped at 19 cents per pent for calls, and 6 cents for text messages
- The rolling out of a 5G network
- Boosting connectivity in remote areas through higher investment in high-speed and high quality networks across the EU
- Ensuring all EU citizens can access affordable communications services
- Better protection of EU citizens in emergency situations, such as through the ‘reverse 112’ number, where citizens are warned by SMS or mobile apps of a major emergency or disaster in their region.
- European Commission, 2018 [online: here], retrieved on 15/11/2018.
- Haahr, T.,2018. MEPs cap prices of calls within EU and approve emergency alert system, [online: here], European Parliament, retrieved on 15/11/2018.
- Scales, I., 2018. The EU Parliament passes draft European Electronic Communications Code, [online: here], retrieved on 15/11/2018.
Written by Mairead Finlay – Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg). She has studied Translation at the University of Geneva and holds a BA in Politics and French from the University of Bristol.