09 April, 2013

Press release: ETNO meets Vice-President Antonio Tajani

Brussels - Luigi Gambardella, Chairman of the Executive Board of ETNO (the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ association), has met today Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the European Commission and responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, to share views on the future evolution and challenges of the telecoms sector in Europe.

Underlining the key role played by the telecommunications sector in fostering the growth and competitiveness of the European economy, the Chairman of ETNO reiterated ETNO's satisfaction with the conclusions of the March European Council.  The Council has noted the Commission’s intention to report on the state of play and on the obstacles to be tackled “so as to ensure the completion of  a fully functioning Digital Single Market by 2015, as well as concrete measures to establish the single market in Information and Communications Technology as early as possible”.

Mr Gambardella stated: “One of the main reasons behind the current revenue decline faced by the electronic communications sector is the fragmentation of the European market. This hampers the development by operators of new innovative services throughout the EU. Changes in the market structure are necessary. It is crucial that European telecommunications operators are allowed to achieve a larger scale through consolidation, in order to be in a better position to invest in next generation fixed and mobile broadband infrastructures, offer new services and  compete with non-EU players. ETNO therefore calls upon the Commission for a bold reform of the policy framework for the sector, including a further deregulation in line with increased competition and technological changes in the markets”.

According to recent estimates, fully completing the EU single market in electronic communications would allow the European ICT sector to bridge the competitiveness gap which separates it from the Asian and North American markets. This would translate into a gain of more than €680 billion for the European economy and the impact of the unification of the market would be close to that of the 1992 Single Market Programme. Moreover, the beneficial effects would also be felt outside the ICT economy, with positive spillover effects in terms of productivity gains, innovation and efficiency for both the private and public sectors.

Mr. Gambardella expressed his strong support for a package of concrete measures to be proposed by the Commission on the creation of a genuine Digital Single Market, to be endorsed by the next October European Council. Such proposals should be aimed at enhancing consumers’ satisfaction, improving the productivity of businesses and ensuring a globally competitive European telecoms sector.

For more information, please contact: Thierry Dieu, ETNO Director for Communications and Public Policy Tel: (32-2) 219 32 42 Fax:  (32-2) 219 64 12 E-mail: dieu@etno.be

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