Brussels files with Spain for the delay in the Telecommunications Law

    Brussels files with Spain for the delay in the General Telecommunications Law, which has to incorporate the European Code of Electronic Communications adopted in 2018 into the national legal system.

    The Ursula von der Leyen Commission has launched this Thursday an infringement procedure against the Government of Pedro Sánchez for having breached the deadlines: the Law should have been approved at the latest on December 21, 2020, but the draft has not even entered to Parliament.

    For this reason, the Community Executive has sent a letter of formal notice to Spain, the first step in the file, in which it asks it to urgently adopt and notify Brussels of the necessary measures to apply the European Telecommunications Code. The Government now has two months to respond. If the delay persists, the Commission could file a complaint against Spain with the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU).

    The economic vice-presidency submitted the draft General Telecommunications Law for public consultation last fall, but has not yet sent it to Parliament for approval. The Spanish authorities have had a total of two years to complete all the procedures, but they have not arrived on time.

    The Government explains to Invertia that the health crisis caused by Covid-19 has had an impact on administrative procedures, and in fact 24 out of 27 members are affected by the delay. And they reciuedrdan that in Spain the process is advancing: “the public hearing of the Draft Law has already been held and work is being done on the Draft Law to start the parliamentary procedure,” they tell this newspaper.

    Countries affected

    Indeed, Spain is not the only country affected by the Brussels file. On the contrary, to date, only Greece, Hungary and Finland have notified the Commission that they have taken all the necessary steps to incorporate the Code into their legal order.

    The other 23 Member States have also failed: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Holland, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia , Slovakia and Sweden.

    The Code modernizes the European regulatory framework for electronic communications, in particular when it comes to improving consumer rights. For example, guaranteeing clearer contracts, quality of service and more competitive markets. It also sets more efficiency and quality requirements for the European emergency number 112.

    “Orientations and assistance”

    In addition, it allows operators to benefit from regulations that incentivize investments in very high-capacity networks, as well as greater regulatory predictability, which facilitates more innovative digital services and infrastructures, according to Brussels.

    The Community Executive considers that it is a “fundamental legislative act” to accelerate the digital transition in the EU and guarantee “full participation of all EU citizens in the digital economy and society”.

    Brussels further asserts that, to assist Member States, it has monitored the transposition process and provided them with “extensive guidance and assistance”. For its part, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has developed and published guidelines to facilitate the application of the new standards.

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