Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC)

In “Industry, Research and Energy - ITRE”

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For a brief overview of the key points of the adopted text and its significance for the citizen, please see the corresponding summary note.


On 14 September 2016, the European Commission adopted a set of initiatives and legislative proposals to deliver on its digital single market (DSM) strategy. As part of its (internet) connectivity package, the Commission proposed, amongst other things, an updated regulation on the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC).

The initial Commission proposal for establishing a European Electronic Communications Market Authority, in order to improve consistency of the EU telecoms rules and to contribute to the development of the single market, dates back to 2007. The subsequent BEREC took up its responsibilities in 2010.

The mission of BEREC is to assist the Commission and the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) in the implementation of the EU telecoms rules, to give advice on request and on its own initiative to the European institutions and to complement at European level the regulatory tasks performed at national level by the regulatory authorities. BEREC is composed of two bodies: (1) the BEREC Office in Riga (Latvia) which provides assistance and support; and (2) the board of regulators which is made up of the chief executives of the NRAs.

In its resolution ‘Towards a Digital Single Market Act’ (January 2016), the European Parliament called on the Commission to integrate the DSM further by ensuring that a more efficient institutional framework is in place. According to the Commission, this can be done by strengthening the role, capacity and decision-making powers of BEREC. Before the EP adopted its resolution, the Commission launched a public consultation with stakeholders, which ran from September to November 2015.

The new legislative proposal of the Commission aims at transforming BEREC into a fully-fledged agency and is line with the new European Communications Code. The Code identifies areas where BEREC should contribute to achieve the connectivity and regulatory consistency objectives (such as cross-border matters, guidance for national regulatory authorities, etc.). In this context, in 2015 the EU assigned BEREC additional tasks as regards open internet access and roaming. In addition, the Commission proposal aims to ensure that a single management board is capable of taking regulatory decisions as well as the corresponding administrative and financial decisions. The revamped agency should count with some additional resources, while maintaining the pooling of valuable technical expertise from NRAs.

The proposal entrusts BEREC with new tasks, including some legally binding powers to make sure that the regulatory framework is applied consistently, such as providing guidelines for NRAs on geographical surveys, but also developing common approaches to deliver peer-reviewed opinions on draft national measures on radio spectrum assignments or on cross-border disputes.

The Commission proposal also amends the governance of BEREC. For the time being, the Commission can only attend as an observer at the board of regulators and has one representative at the management committee of the BEREC Office (with mainly administrative support tasks). For the future, the agency's management board would consist of one representative from each Member State, and two from the European Commission. Each management board member would have voting rights.

In December 2016, the Council held a policy debate on the revision of the EU telecoms regulatory framework. Most Members States agreed that the existing framework, including the radio spectrum policy group, could easily support the required cooperation for spectrum management. According to the Council, there was no need to create additional layers of cooperation or turn BEREC into a European agency. This would just add to the administrative burden.

In December 2016, the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee as lead committee appointed Evžen Tošenovský (ECR, Czech Republic) as rapporteur on the BEREC regulation. The committees on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), Culture and Education (CULT) and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) provided opinions.

The draft report was presented in the lead committee on 27 February 2017 (ordinary legislative procedure, first reading). According to the draft report, the status quo is functioning well. In order to avoid institutional upheaval, the rapporteur suggests, inter alia, to delete the Commission's paragraphs that establish BEREC as a full-fledged agency. The deadline for tabling amendments in the ITRE Committee was 4 April. The committee adopted the report on 2 October 2017. In line with Rule 69c, the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations with the Council was confirmed by plenary on 25 October 2017.

The Council adopted its general approach on 4 December 2017, the trilogues started on 6 December 2017. The final trilogue was held on 5 June 2018, Parliament and Council agreed to enter the finalisation stage. The agreement is based, inter alia, on a compromise regarding the legal personality of BEREC: the BEREC office will have legal personality but not BEREC itself which remains a body of the national regulators. Financing and staffing have been addressed for the office to be able to fulfil the new tasks given to it under the new European Electronic Communications Code - co-legislators decided to have a recital committing to support it within the powers and the scope of the common framework for the decentralised agencies. Parliament agreed with Council proposals on moving from simple majority to two third majority for key decisions of the Board of Regulators and of the Management board. In addition, the text on intra-EU calls (for more info, please see the carriage on the new Electronic Communications Code) has been moved to the BEREC Regulation (recitals 29ff).

The Council on COREPER level approved the BEREC file together with the one on the European Electronic Communications Code on 29 June 2018. The vote in the ITRE Committee took place on 10 July 2018, the provisional agreement was adopted.

Parliament adopted the agreement on 14 November 2018 and the Council on 4 December. The final act was signed on 10 December 2018.

The publication in the Official Journal took place on 17 December 2018. The regulation will enter into force on the third day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union, i.e. 20 December 2018.


Further reading:

Author: Cemal Karakas, Members' Research Service,

As of 20/02/2023.