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Procedure : 2013/2053(INI)
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Document selected : A7-0378/2013

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PV 10/12/2013 - 7.18

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013 - Strasbourg Final edition
Evaluation report regarding BEREC

European Parliament resolution of 10 December 2013 containing its opinion on the evaluation report regarding BEREC and the Office (2013/2053(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 23 April 2013 on the Evaluation Report of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and its office (SWD(2013)0152),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 May 2010 entitled ‘A Digital Agenda for Europe’ (COM(2010)0245),

–  having regard to Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2010 on ‘a new Digital Agenda for Europe:’(1) ,

–  having regard to the framework for electronic communications,

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1211/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 establishing the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the Office(2) ,

–  having regard to Rule 119(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A7-0378/2013),

A.  whereas the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) was created to contribute to shaping technical and policy orientations for the completion of the internal market, with the twin aims of giving regulators the utmost possible independence and making their implementation of the regulatory framework more consistent throughout the EU;

B.  whereas the evaluation report appreciates and recognises the worth of BEREC and the BEREC Office, notably with respect to the Article 7/7a procedures and in the areas of net neutrality and international roaming;

C.  whereas only a short period of time has passed since BEREC and the BEREC Office were created;

D.  whereas the completion of the internal market is a continual process best served by improving regulation across individual national markets, and whereas the most robust and sustainable way to achieve this (thereby ensuring that regulatory decisions are seen as having legitimacy within national markets) is through the ‘bottom-up’ approach currently represented by BEREC;

E.  whereas BEREC can only be effective if its independence from the Member States and the EU institutions is guaranteed;

F.  whereas national considerations may complicate the definition of common positions, making agreement more difficult;

G.  whereas BEREC plays a fundamental role in enhancing the consistent application of the EU regulatory framework in all Member States, which is essential for the successful development of an internal market in electronic communications networks and services;

H.  whereas recent initiatives taken at national level, particularly with regard to spending review processes, could affect the implementation of the independence principle;

I.  whereas national regulatory authorities (NRAs) are not homogeneous, given that they sometimes have very different powers within their home countries, some dealing only with market regulation while others also deal with aspects such as market regulation, net security, privacy, domain register, spectrum and user services;

J.  whereas it is possible that optimal use is not being made of the BEREC Office at present;

K.  whereas some of the Union agencies based in other countries also have a satellite office in Brussels;

L.  whereas most of the expert working group meetings were held in Brussels or hosted by an NRA, and whereas videoconferencing should be developed;

M.  whereas consumer benefit is one of the main goals of the internal market in electronic communications;

N.  whereas decisions taken by BEREC at European level should create European added value;

1.  Considers that the evaluation report is, overall, relevant and balanced;

2.  Considers that time is needed to fully develop the requisite cooperation, coordination and informal aspects of regulation;

3.  Considers that there is still room for improvement in the functioning of BEREC and the BEREC Office, while acknowledging the limited resources available; stresses, however, that the use of the new procedure under Article 7/7a of Directive 2009/140/EC on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services has worked effectively, justifying the two-tier set-up;

4.  Emphasises that BEREC is the smallest EU agency, with an EU budget contribution of only EUR 3 768 696 and 16 authorised posts under the EU budget in 2013, primarily providing administrative support for the BEREC structure, which is composed of national regulatory authorities;

5.  Recalls the opinion of the Committee on Budgets of 29 May 2008 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Electronic Communications Market Authority (COM(2007)0699 – C6-0428/2007 – 2007/0249(COD)), by which the establishment of a new agency was rejected;

6.  Considers that NRAs play an important role within the regulatory system, as national markets have immutable differences related to network topology and also differ with respect to consumer demand patterns, demographics, etc.; stresses that in order to ensure structured cooperation within the EU, and thus a correctly functioning single market, it is essential to have independent, sector‑specific and properly resourced regulators;

7.  Considers that BEREC plays a crucial role within the regulatory system as the entity tasked with aligning national factual and regulatory differences with a view to completing the internal market in electronic communications;

8.  Recommends that BEREC’s role, in particular its relationship with NRAs, be better defined, and strengthened by broadening its responsibilities so as to facilitate the definition of common positions with a view to enhancing the internal market approach, including by evaluating the efficiency of current cooperation with NRAs and the Commission under the Article 7/7a procedures;

9.  Considers that greater harmonisation of the tasks carried out by NRAs in the Member States, giving them competence for relevant aspects directly related to security and resilience in the internal market in electronic communications, could contribute to better functioning of BEREC and greater predictability for market actors;

10.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to ensure that the independence of NRAs at national and European level is strengthened, not weakened, as this is the only way to ensure the overall independence of BEREC;

11.  Considers that the roles and structure of BEREC and the BEREC Office should be adapted according to the level of completion of the internal market in electronic communications;

12.  Calls on the Commission to guarantee BEREC’s independence from the EU institutions in future proposals relating to the scope and mission of BEREC;

13.  Considers that BEREC should act in the interests of the European public, and that the mechanisms for accountability to the European Parliament, as the only EU institution directly elected to represent the interests of the European public, should be strengthened;

14.  Recommends that BEREC strengthen its internal accountability by clearly defining its objectives in its annual work programme and presenting in its annual report its achievements and progress on the basis of those objectives;

15.  Deems it to be of the utmost importance for the coherence and consistency of BEREC's work to better prioritise its tasks and to foster communication with all interested stakeholders at the development stage of its annual work programme;

16.  Considers that BEREC should have more room to take strategic decisions, meaning, among other things, that BEREC should produce its own analysis and studies enabling it to take such decisions, so that the decision-making process is more top-down and independent;

17.  Emphasises that BEREC’s advisory role upstream of legislative proposals affecting the electronic communications sector should be made methodical;

18.  Considers that BEREC's external communication should be clarified and improved in order to encourage stakeholder involvement at all levels of policymaking;

19.  Recommends formalising the role of the Independent Regulators Group (IRG) in Brussels, while ensuring that it does not duplicate the tasks entrusted to the BEREC Office;

20.  Recommends that greater use be made of teleworking, videoconferencing and other remote working techniques enabled by electronic communications, in order to cut costs and reduce the carbon footprint;

21.  Recommends that the Commission and the Member States ensure that adequate financing is made available for BEREC and for the NRAs;

22.  Considers that the location of the BEREC Office is not a barrier to monitoring the EU institutions’ day-to-day work on electronic communications, which is a matter of special interest to BEREC, and that it will not hamper the efficient use of the BEREC Office, provided that greater use is made of electronic communications strategies;

23.  Considers that the mission of the BEREC Office should be revised, reinforced and defined more precisely, taking particular account of the outcome of the BEREC audit on this matter;

24.  Recommends that the necessary changes be made, and the necessary resources considered, to enable the BEREC Office to support BEREC’s substantive work more effectively and efficiently, rather than simply providing administrative support;

25.  Considers that any discussions on the location of the BEREC Office should be conducted with a view to reinforcing its independence from the EU institutions and the Member States and with due regard to the principle of equal geographical distribution of the seats of the EU’s institutions, agencies and other entities;

26.  Considers that greater consolidation is needed to enable operators to exploit economies of scale more fully, and that BEREC should have a prominent role to play in that process;

27.  Considers that a clear and stable legislative framework is needed for a better internal market that will result in increased competition and improved services for consumers;

28.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ C 81 E, 15.3.2011, p. 45.
(2) OJ L 337, 18.12.2009, p. 1.

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