Select Committee on European Scrutiny Tenth Report


COM(00) 393
Draft Directive on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services.
Legal base: Article 95 EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
Department: Trade and Industry
Basis of consideration: Minister's letter of 26 March 2001
Previous Committee Report: HC 28-ix (2000-01), paragraph 5 (21 March 2001)
To be discussed in Council: 4-5 April 2001
Committee's assessment: Politically important
Committee's decision: Cleared


  10.1  This proposal is one of seven that will form the new regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services. They were anticipated in the Commission Communication on the results of the public consultation on the 1999 Communications Review which we considered on 24 May and 19 July[15] and which was debated in European Standing Committee C on 16 February 2000.[16]

  10.2  The proposal sets out the horizontal provisions that would form the harmonised regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services across the European Community.


  10.3  We last considered this proposal on 21 March 2001 but did not clear it as the Minister referred to Swedish Presidency texts on a definition of "significant market power", an important aspect of the proposal. The Swedish Presidency aims to reach political agreement on the proposal, on the basis of the text as amended by them, at the 4-5 April Telecoms and Transport Council and a Common Position on it at the 27-28 June Telecoms and Transport Council. The European Parliament had its First Reading on the proposal on 1 March.

The Minister's letter

  10.4  The Minister, as requested, attaches copies of the Swedish amendments to the text and comments in detail on the issue. She confirms that the Government supports the Swedish approach and says:

"The proposals provide national regulatory authorities with a more secure legal basis on which to determine whether undertakings collectively hold a position of significant market power than would be the case if they were able to rely solely on existing Community jurisprudence. At the same time, they clarify that such determinations must always be preceded by a market analysis and a finding that competition in the market is not effective; they provide for the conditions set out in the annex to be amended through comitology procedures in the light of market developments; and, in drawing heavily upon wording used by the Commission itself in drafts of its guidelines on market analysis, they seek to provide consistency with the case law that does exist. Importantly, the Government believes that the proposals neither extend the scope of regulation nor lower the threshold for regulatory invention. Rather, they support the Commission's existing proposals where collective dominance is concerned.

"The Presidency's text is, of course, almost certain to change during negotiations. However, the Government will be seeking to ensure that the substance underlying its approach is retained."


  10.5  The Minister has provided us with a full account of the Government's position on this proposal and the amendments proposed by the Swedish Presidency. It goes to the Council in early April and, on the assumption that the substance of the Presidency's Text will remain intact, we now clear the document.

15  (21189) 8330/00; see HC 23-xix (1999-2000), paragraph 7 (24 May 2000) and HC 23-xxv (1999-2000), paragraph 8 (19 July 2000).  Back

16  Official Report, European Standing Committee C, 16 February 2000. Back

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