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Ireland off the hook

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The European Commission is set to drop proceedings against Ireland for infringing European Union telecoms rules.

Ireland was facing action due to the unavailability of automatic caller location information for emergency services when someone dialed them on the single European emergency number: 112.

It is expected the proceedings pending against Ireland, Cyprus and Luxembourg will now be closed after all three national authorities confirmed that caller location information is now available on their networks.

The news comes as the Commission opened nine new cases against member states that have infringed EU telecoms rules. The majority of cases in this new round concern a failure to complete market reviews to assess the status of competition on national telecom markets, or the lack of caller location information to emergency authorities.

"It is extremely important that national telecom regulators complete their market analysis so that appropriate remedies are in place if needed to ensure efficient competition; for the benefit of consumers and businesses in the EU. Similarly, the availability of caller location information for the single European emergency number 112 needs to be urgently addressed in all member states. However, I am pleased to note that we could close nine cases where progress has been achieved," said Vivian Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

"The Commission remains vigilant in ensuring that the EU's regulatory framework for electronic communications is correctly implemented. This is especially crucial as we are currently consulting on the future of this framework," added Reding.

Denmark, Germany, Malta, and Portugal received letters of formal notice having failed to complete the first round of 18 market reviews set down under the regulatory framework established in 2002. Estonia, which has completed only one of the reviews and Luxembourg, which has completed four, will both receive reasoned opinions from the Commission.

A reasoned opinion is sent when the Commission is not satisfied by a member state's reply to its threat of legal proceedings. The reasoned opinion sets out in full the grounds for the legal action and requires the matter to be sorted out by a specific date. If it still remains unresolved the Commission can then bring an action in the European Court of Justice as a last resort.

Greece, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Italy and Portugal will all receive reasoned opinions from the commission as they currently do not provide caller location information for all calls on the 112 number.

The Commission has closed nine cases following satisfactory implementation of EU legislation in the member states concerned, this includes the case against the Czech Republic which has completed the review of all 18 relevant markets. Cases against Malta, France, Poland and Slovenia have been closed due to them fulfilling the requirements for the 112 number.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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