Reding's telecom reforms find opposition


BRUSSELS -- The European Commission's planned telecom reforms came under fire from German, British, Finnish and Swedish ministers Thursday at a meeting here, raising concerns about whether they will be eventually agreed to by EU governments.

The reforms, unveiled by EU Media and Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding on Nov. 13, need backing by a majority of EU governments to become law. Reding says they promise better and cheaper telecoms services, from mobile phones to faster Internet technology and cable television.

But at a gathering of the EU's 27 telecom companies meeting in Brussels, there was fierce opposition to the plans to set up a single telecoms watchdog to ensure the European market remains free and open for services such as cable and broadcasting.

The ministers from four of the EU's most dynamic telecoms nations warned that the proposed European Telecom Market Authority will add an unwanted layer of bureaucracy to the process.

Earlier, Reding had said it would set firm ground rules for regulation. "Just the legal certainty of having consistent, clear and quick decisions will lower the cost of capital, yielding hundreds of millions of savings in euros every year," she said.