Telecom Package – All sides poised for the final battles

By EDRi · September 9, 2009

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Deutsch: [Telekompaket: alle Seiten bereiten sich auf die letzte Schlacht vor |]

Preparations are being made in the EU institutions for the expected third
reading of the Telecom Package. The timescale for the remainder of the
legislative process will be determined by the official communication of the
Council Common Positions to the Parliament. In theory, this can happen as
late as mid-October, meaning that the final agreement could happen as late
as the end of November or early December.

In the absence of official finalised documents from the Council, work on
the dossier is focusing at the moment on procedural aspects of the
negotiations. The negotiation takes place between representatives of the 27
Member States and 27 Members of the European Parliament (with the balance
between political groups in the Parliament overall reflected in the
political allegiances of the 27 MEPs). Representatives of EU Member States
have informally stated that they believe that Amendment 138 is the only
controversial issue and a significant number of Council Members wish to
restrict discussions to this issue.

Without new information from the Council, discussions in the European
Parliament’s Industry Committee on 2 September 2009 generated far more heat
than light. Catherine Trautmann (S&D, France) proposed moving the debate
forward by suggesting that the incoming Commissioner be asked to start work
on net neutrality from scratch. Pilar Del Castillo (EPP, Spain) (rapporteur
for the creation of a European Communications Market Authority) lamented the
lack of communication from the Council and the fact that so much effort had
achieved so little for the citizens of Europe.

A hearing organised by the Green Group in the European Parliament produced
a general discussion on issues related to copyright and net neutrality. In
the absence of clarity regarding what specifically will be in the Council
texts and insight into what issues may be subject to renewed debate in
conciliation, no discussion on the detail of the telecom packet was

As regards the procedure that will be followed, while the range of options
for tabling amendments is greatly restricted for the second reading, these
restrictions are eased in the current conciliation phase. In reality
however, it is more a question of what unravels when a particular thread is
pulled. For example, if the famous Amendment 138 is adopted, negotiators
might argue that it is appropriate to fix the related text.

The Member States can be expected to push for as much of the Common
Position as possible to be retained and to push again for the
“compromise” that was agreed with the Parliament negotiators on
Amendment 138 in the first reading (but not adopted).

Telecom Package seminar (7.09.2009)

EDRi-gram: The telecoms ministers rejected the telecom package as adopted by
the EP (17.06.2009)

EDRi-gram: European Parliament votes against the 3 strikes. Again

(contribution by Joe McNamee – EDRi)