The ambition of Vivian Reding, the EU Telecoms Commissioner, to create a pan-European regulator with sweeping powers has collapsed following more than 1000 amendments to the original plan. Members of the EU Parliament believed that the idea of a 'super regulator' meant too much power being placed at the centre, and cut the remit of the new organisation down to just 33 points--which essentially left power with regulators in each country.
Reding has criticised the new toothless regulatory agency--known rather unfortunately as the Body of European Regulators in Telecommunications (BERT), as not being equipped to act quickly enough. "Businesses and consumers in Europe are interested in results, not in lengthy procedures. I have doubts whether BERT will be able to deliver coherent responses to the regulatory obstacles still far too prevalent in Europe's single telecoms market."
Leading the opposition to Reding's proposal was the Spanish socialist MEP Pilar del Castillo, who said: "The Commission should play more the role of arbitrator and facilitator rather than that of judge or sanction-taker. Let's not create a cumbersome body which lobbies for its own existence."
BERT will be one-third funded by the EU, with the remainder coming from the regulators in each EU country. BERT will have its remit re-examined in 2014 by which time most countries will (should?) have most of the RF spectrum firmly in private hands, safely away from EU interference.
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