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[FYI] Liikanen pledges EU support for the communications revolution
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- Subject: [FYI] Liikanen pledges EU support for the communications revolution
- From: "Axel H. Horns" <Horns@t-online.de>
- Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 18:49:49 +0200
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CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 1999.
Record Control Number: 13756
Category: General policy
The 'communications revolution' in Europe has the potential to
transform society but this can only continue if policy-makers keep
pace with new developments in the telecommunications field, said
European Commissioner Erkki Liikanen at the Telecom 99 Conference in
Geneva on 10 October 1999.
The Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society was
speaking about the EU's response to the rapidly changing
telecommunications industry. Mr Liikanen said the 'powerful
combination' of digital technologies and liberalisation in
telecommunications policy have reinforced each other, making the
telecommunications industry one of the strongest in the world,
driving growth in the rest of the economy. Sustaining this 'new'
society will depend on the EU developing a policy framework that
enables industry to exploit these opportunities.
'The unique impact of the telecommunications sector is its role in
the transformation of the economy and society as a whole', he said.
'We are witnesses of and actors in the transition from an industrial
society, based on mass production, towards an Information Society,
which is characterised by globalisation and mobility.'
Since liberalisation began in 1987, Europe has witnessed an explosion
in Internet technologies and mobile communications, and now third
generation mobile telephony looks set to build on their success. 'I
am encouraged that as a result of the IMT-2000 process, a global
solution to third generation looks likely. This would be a massive
achievement, with major economic benefits,' he said.
Although European liberalisation has been successful, Mr Liikanen
said there are still three areas requiring work. Firstly, the
Commission and Member States will examine introducing pro-competitive
measures to reduce tariffs for leased lines. Secondly, dominance in
local access networks by some incumbents will be reviewed, and
thirdly attempts will be made to harmonise the degree of competition
between Member States.
Mr Liikanen pledged to reduce red tape to make operators free to
innovate, while protecting consumers and guaranteeing a minimum level
of service to the more disadvantaged in society. 'The European
Commission will later this month issue a policy document that will
suggest policy orientations to address the shortcomings', he said,
and it will then invite national authorities, market players and
other interested bodies to submit suggestions.
On the global stage, liberalisation is also needed, and although
substantial progress has been made though WTO and GATS agreements, Mr
Liikanen said the European Commission 'would like to obtain more and
better commitments from WTO members'. Furthermore the Commission
would like to see the scale of the telecoms agreement extended to the
other hundred ITU members who have not yet signed it.
Developing countries should not be excluded from these benefits he
said, and Mr Liikanen pledged EU support in helping countries
implement the necessary legal and institutional framework for
Mr Liikanen finished his speech by issuing a global request. He said
to achieve a global Information Society 'we still need to undertake
courageous policy measures'. He said the European Commission is
'prepared to deliver this response' and called on the international
community to respond.
Data Source Provider: European Commission, Spokesman's Service
Document Reference: Based on speech by Erkki Liikanen, 10 October
Subject Index Codes: Telecommunications; Policies
The full speech may be found on the Web, at: