At a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the EU with representatives from the European Parliament and the European Commission, some national ministers stated that they are against lower prices for roaming in the EU.
According to reports, the Council does not want to follow the proposal of the European Parliament to further lower prices. Instead, ministers are defending the interests of big telecommunications companies and their practice of charging extreme fees for using mobile phones and tablets abroad. In addition, the Council wants to limit influence of the Parliament in the implementation of further rules through the so-called Comitology procedure.
“This is a huge letdown for the millions of mobile phone users across Europe. Instead of the interests of users and the general economy, national ministers have given in to the lobbying of a few large telecom companies. Ministers obviously do not care that roaming charges damage the competitiveness of the European economy and they do not care about travellers who are forced to pay thousands of Euros when returning from holiday. The last decision by the European Parliament already proposed quite high price caps but if they even compromise on that with the Council, prices could end up being three to four times higher than what is economically feasible”, said Bengt Beier, coordinator of the citizens’ initiative Europeans for Fair Roaming (www.fairroaming.org).
Just shortly before the European Parliament’s vote for lower roaming charges end of February, a study from the European telecommunications regulator BEREC had shown that roaming prices should indeed be even lower than the European Parliament’s proposals. Europeans for Fair Roaming therefore calls on all EU institutions and lawmakers to not water down the new roaming regulation and take decisive action for lower roaming costs across Europe.