|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.13, 29.3.01, p4|
MEMBER states are set to spark a fierce power struggle with Euro MPs next week over European Commissioner Erkki Liikanen's blueprint to bring telecom legislation into the 21st century.
Diplomats say ministers will reject efforts to give the Commission the chance to veto decisions by national regulators that it thinks would hinder the EU's telecoms market.
But the MEP in charge of steering the legislation through the European Parliament, Reino Passilinna, is warning governments this will lead to a lengthy conciliation procedure.
"I don't think that Parliament will go in line with the Council of Ministers. If we can't narrow down the gap, conciliation will be inevitable," he said, insisting the Commission veto is absolutely vital.
He says a rejection, expected at next week's meeting of EU transport and telecom ministers in Luxembourg, would allow the Union to repeat mistakes that have led to the market-distortions, threatening the launch of new mobile phone services.
"This is so short-sighted," Passilinna said. "Everybody understands that a pan- European market is needed. This is a very international business. If the same directives are implemented in 15 different ways [by the 15 member states] then this is a problem for business."
Diplomats say member states favour a system, tabled last year by the then French presidency, giving the Commission the right to exert 'moral pressure' over national regulators' decisions. But this would fall short of the outright veto proposed last year by Liikanen.
"The Commission would still have the right to open infringement procedures, taking member states to the European Court of Justice," said one.
Neil Gibbs, spokesman for the European Telecom Network Operators Association, says he "regretted" the governments' stances, which he says would make life more difficult for firms operating across borders.
"It is very easy for member states to present this as the Commission wanting more power. The opposite is true. "A formal say for the Commission is essential to guarantee a minimum level of harmonisation," said Gibbs.
Per Haugaard, spokes-man for Liikanen, says the Commission has not given up He said: "Our objective is to create greater coherence and a single market and a level playing field for telecoms in Europe."
Member States are set to spark a fierce power struggle with Euro MPs over European Commissioner Erkki Liikanen's blueprint to bring telecom legislation into the 21st century.
|Subject Categories||Business and Industry|