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European Commission Press Releases

Digital Single Market: EU negotiators reach a political agreement to update the EU’s telecoms rules

Zoltan Tundik

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Photo Credits: © European Union , 2015 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Christophe Maout
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Brussels, 6 June 2018 – The European Parliament and the Council reached late last night a political agreement to update the EU’s telecoms rules. The new European Electronic Communications Code, proposed by the Commission, will boost investments in very high-capacity networks across the EU, including in remote and rural areas.

Vice-President in charge of the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip said: “This agreement is essential to meet Europeans’ growing connectivity needs and boost Europe’s competitiveness. We are laying the groundwork for the deployment of 5G across Europe.

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, said: “The new telecoms rules are an essential building block for Europe’s digital future. After several months of tough negotiations, we have agreed on bold and balanced rules to provide faster access to radio spectrum, better services and more protection for consumers, as well as greater investment in very high-speed networks.

The agreed rules are crucial for achieving Europe’s connectivity targets and providing everyone in the EU the best possible internet connection, so they can participate fully in the digital economy.

The new Electronic Communications Code will:

  • Enhance the deployment of 5G networks by ensuring the availability of 5G radio spectrum by end of 2020 in the EU and providing operators with predictability for at least 20 years in terms of spectrum licensing; including on the basis of better coordination of planned radio spectrum assignments.

  • Facilitate the roll-out of new, very high capacity fixed networks by making rules for co-investment more predictable and promoting risk sharing in the deployment of very high capacity networks; promoting sustainable competition for the benefit of consumers, with a regulatory emphasis on the real bottlenecks, such as wiring, ducts and cables inside buildings; and a specific regulatory regime for wholesale only operators. Moreover, the new rules will also ensure closer cooperation between the Commission and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) in supervising measures related to the new key access provisions of co-investment and symmetric regulation.

  • Benefit and protect consumers, irrespective of whether end-users communicate through traditional (calls, sms) or web-based services (Skype, WhatsApp, etc.) by:

  • ensuring that all citizens have access to affordable communications services, including universally available internet access, for services such as egovernment, online banking or video calls;
  • ensuring that international calls within the EU will not cost more than 19 cents per minute, while making sure that the new rules would not distort competition, innovation and investment;
  • giving equivalent access to communications for end-users with disabilities;
  • promoting better tariff transparency and comparison of contractual offers;
  • guaranteeing better security against hacking, malware, etc.;
  • better protecting consumers subscribing to bundled service packages;
  • making it easier to change service provider and keep the same phone number, including rules for compensations if the process goes wrong or takes too long;
  • increasing protection of citizens in emergency situations, including retrieving more accurate caller location in emergency situations, broadening emergency communications to  text messaging and video calls, and establishing a system to transmit public warnings on mobile phones.

 

Background

At work, at home or on the move, Europeans expect an internet connection that is fast and reliable. Encouraging investments in very high-capacity networks is increasingly important for education, healthcare, manufacturing or transport. To meet these challenges and prepare Europe’s digital future, in September 2016 the Commission proposed the establishment of a European Electronic Communications Code and a proposal for a Regulation on the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications. The Code will modernise the current EU telecoms rules, which were last updated in 2009, stimulate competition to drive investments and strengthen the internal market and consumer rights.

In March 2018 the Parliament and the Council agreed on the way forward for radio spectrum management to be able to introduce 5G in the EU. Once fully adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, Member States will have two years to transpose the Electronic Communications Code into national law.

For More Information

Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) including data on connectivity per country

More on telecoms

 

IP/18/4070

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European Commission Press Releases

EGBA Welcomes EC Commitment to Improve Digital Single Market

Niji Narayan

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EGBA Welcomes EC Commitment to Improve Digital Single Market
Photo Source: emerging-europe.com
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The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has welcomed the European Commission’s commitment to improving the digital single market.

In its work programme, the Commission announces several new initiatives aimed at strengthening the operation of the single market, particularly for digital services, and making it work more effectively for online consumers.

EGBA believes the Commission’s commitment to improving the digital single market should include a review of its approach to online gambling. With more than 16.5 million Europeans betting online, there is clearly a need for a more consistent EU policy towards this cross-border sector worth €22.2 billion and growing by 10% each year.

“EGBA welcomes the Commission’s commitment to making the single market work for online consumers. More than 16.5 million Europeans bet online but their rights are not protected by any EU rules. It is time to bring the EU’s approach to online gambling into the 21st century – the Commission should act,” Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA, said.

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European Commission Press Releases

European Commission Criticises Third German State Treaty on Gambling

Niji Narayan

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German games funding programme officially notified by the European Commission
Photo Source: aljazeera.com
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

The European Commission has criticised the latest incarnation of Germany’s State Treaty on Gambling.

After the proposed legislation was submitted to the Commission in May, general director Lowri Evans has submitted a response which casts doubt on the effectiveness of the planned framework.

Evans criticised the short-term nature of the third amended State Treaty on Gambling. Evans questioned the logic of implementing the Treaty for such a short period from 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2021.

In order to secure a licence, operators will be required to shut down any online casino offerings and offer sports betting without in-play wagering. Players will be restricted to spending €1000 per month, with a 5% turnover tax levied on licensees. These restrictions and fees are expected to slash operators’ revenue should they be fully enforced.

Evans noted that the controls to be implemented could make the market particularly unattractive for operators. With the processing of licence applications to begin from 2 January, the first working day of 2020, licences could be valid for less than 18 months.

Evans casts doubt on whether goals of the Treaty, such as increasing player protection and driving unlicensed operators from the market, could be achieved in an 18-month period. Evans also queried when the effectiveness of the Treaty would be assessed, something pledged when it was first introduced in 2012.

“The Commission emphasises the need for a continuous evaluation of the implementation and application of the State Treaty, in particular (but not limited to) sports betting. The German authorities have already committed in 2012 […] to an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of the provisions relating to sports betting. Unfortunately, in view of the previous non-award of sports betting licenses, no such evaluation has yet been carried out. Therefore, the German authorities are invited to [explain] how and when an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of the sports betting provisions will take place,” Evans stated.

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Compliance Updates

Europe that Protects: Stronger rules criminalising money laundering enter into force

Zoltan Tundik

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Dimitris Avramopoulos at the Europe for Citizens - Meeting of the Civil Dialogue - Date: 28/11/2018 Reference: P-038870/00-05 Location: Brussels - EC/Centre A. Borschette © European Union , 2018 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Benas Gerdziunas
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Today, the new measures to counter money laundering by criminal law enter into force across the EU. The new rules will ensure that dangerous criminals and terrorists face equally severe penalties for money laundering wherever they are in the EU, with a minimum term of imprisonment of 4 years.

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “If we want to catch criminals and terrorists, we have to follow the money. Today, we are beefing up the EU’s response to money laundering, making sure that criminals and terrorists no longer get away with illegally gained money and face deserved justice. A Europe that protects is a Europe that effectively prevents and prosecutes criminals.”

Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said: “Money laundering is a key tool used by terrorists and serious criminals to obtain funding – by harmonising the crime and the punishment across the EU, we can further close down the space in which they operate. Member States now need to implement the new rules without delay.”

The Commission proposed to harmonise offences and sanctions for money laundering across the EU in December 2017. While all Member States currently criminalise money laundering the definitions of this crime as well as the penalties related to it differ across the EU, allowing criminals to effectively “window shop” and exploit the differences between national legislation.

With the new rules in force that will be no longer possible. Member States now have 24 months to implement the new rules into national law and notify the Commission accordingly.

The recent changes and all AML related topics will be highlighted during Prague Gaming Summit by the attending experts of the gambling industry in a special panel discussion. You can find more details on the following page.

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