Last week, the Greek government presented its programme for the EU Presidency, “Programme of the Hellenic Presidency of the Council of the European Union”, for the next six months. It is the fifth time that Greece holds the EU Presidency since its accession to the European Communities in 1981.
The programme includes the three main principles which will guide the work of the Hellenic Presidency during the first semester of 2014:
- Enhancing civic and society engagement in the EU, through policies and initiatives that will focus on the areas of economic recovery, employment, cohesion, mobility of EU citizens and European security, both internal and external.
- Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), by promoting policies and actions that aim to:
- Preserve the integrity of the common currency, on a solid and sustainable basis,
- Ensure financial stability.
- Reinforcing EU democratic legitimacy and accountability, along with building up the collectivity and solidarity links among Member States, as well as incrementally constructing European democracy and expanding civil rights.
The programme also includes the three policy areas with priority focus for the Greek Presidency:
- Integration of the EU and the Eurozone.
The Presidency also intends to focus on EU maritime policies, which will constitute a thematic that will run horizontally through the aforementioned Presidency’s Priorities. In this context, and in cooperation and coordination with the following Italian Presidency, Greece intends for 2014 to be the “European Year of the Mediterranean”.
In regards to the telecommunications sector, the Greek Presidency will work to ‘promote all measures conducive to the establishment of the Single Digital Market framework and the implementation of the “EU roadmap for stability and development.”’
Top among the Hellenic Presidency’s priorities the programme ranks the following:
- ‘The promotion of the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (e-idas).’
- `The EU Cybersecurity Strategy and the proposal for a Directive concerning measures to ensure a high common level of Network and Information Security (NIS) across the Union.
In parallel, the Greek Presidency will strive to promote the proposal for a Regulation creating a single telecoms market, which will change the map of Telecommunications throughout the EU, modifying three EU Directives and two EU Regulations.
Other priorities of the Greek Presidency’s work on the field of telecommunications include:
- The Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites.
- The mid-term review of the Digital Agenda for Europe.
- The examination of the objectives of the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy.
- The definition of European positions at the Plenipotentiary Conference and at the World Telecommunication Development Conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
- The international relations and the common minimum standards on the rules for access to the Public Regulated Service (PRS) provided by the Global Navigation Satellite System under the Galileo Programme.
Telefónica believes that the Greek EU’s policy in IT and telecommunications for the next 6 months should focus on the initiatives that help to achieve the Digital Agenda goals. For that objective the legislative initiative on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks is paramount. Approximately 80% of the roll out cost for NGA networks is related to civil infrastructure, therefore measures to help reducing these cost by taking advantage of civil infrastructure of other sectors, including the public administration are very welcome. To speed up the roll out process there should also be swifter process to grant permits for civil works by the competent authorities.
Regarding the proposed Regulation on the European single market we think it contains some potentially positive developments in providing greater regulatory clarity on certain aspects. However, in general we have concerns that this Regulation will not meet the objective of improving the investment climate and European competitiveness. We encourage the Greek Presidency to thoroughly analyze the proposal and were possible simplify the regulation and focus on investment incentives. A regulatory framework review as a fast track initiative is not appropriate at this stage.