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Steelie Neelie wants roaming charges gone by Easter 2014

Europe's 'economic disaster' will be eased by cheaper calls says web head

Neelie Kroes, the vice-president of the European Commission with responsibility for its “Digital Agenda for Europe” has called for international roaming charges across the Eurozone to end from Easter 2014.

Speaking last week before the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee, Kroes called for the introduction of “A strong single market package” because she feels the telecoms market is unlike any other as “There is no other sector of our incomplete European single market where the barriers are so unneeded, and yet so high.”

She therefore called on the Parliament to get on its bike and sign off on telecoms reform, saying “It is my belief that we can deliver such a package - this full, final, package – around Easter 2014.

Kroes's speech cajoled the committee's members to go faster and sign off on a single market, although she acknowledged realpolitik by saying she doesn't expect her dream package to pass.

But she did say that whether Europeans want cheaper calls “for travel or trade or for transactions or for fun” Parliamentarians should sign off on a single telecoms market, stat.

Doing so, she said, will help to strengthen the digital economy, which is just what the many unemployed youth of Europe need. Older Europeans will also enjoy a single market, she said, as it will make medical monitoring kit more affordable and therefore reduce national healthcare bills. All of Europe, she argued, will benefit because innovators will get busy once roaming charges disappear.

“We can't afford todays countless, needless, artificial obstacles,” she said, declaring that in the face of Europe's current “economic disaster” the EU's “... mutual responsibility and our greatest contribution will be to develop a radical legislative compromise. One that our innovators and citizens can build on. A real result.”

Kroes' legislative package also calls for net neutrality to be enshrined in law, along with new regulations to help control online crime.

The full speech can be seen below. ®

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