Brussels chides Lithuania, Estonia for breaches of telecom rules

  • 2007-03-28
  • By TBT staff
VILNIUS - The European Commission has decided to take several member states to court 's including two Baltic countries 's for infringements of EU telecommunication regulations. The commission said it was referring five member states, including Lithuania, to the European Court of Justice for deficiencies in caller location while dialing the 112 emergency number.

"When it comes to Europe's emergency number 112, member states are obliged to ensure that it is fully functional and available," said Viviane Reding, commissioner for information society and media, in a statement.
"It is unfortunate that several countries are currently putting their own citizens and citizens from other EU countries traveling to their country at risk, as they have failed to ensure that caller location information for emergency calls is fully available," she added.

The commission also filed suits for the same offense against Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Slovakia.
According to the Baltic News Service, in December the Lithuanian government approved amendments to the electronic communication law obliging mobile operators to disclose the location of people dialing the 112 emergency number.
In the meantime, Estonia was reprimanded for failing to carry out a market analysis as specified by the commission's rules and recommendations.
"We are also referring Estonia to the European Court since it has failed to carry out its market analysis on time," said Reding.
In other words, Estonia 's or more properly, Estonia's Economic Affairs and Communications Ministry, which is run by Edgar Savisaar 's has been caught dragging its feet on keeping the EU capital up to date on the latest data and developments in the industry.

"I urge Estonia to speed up what is a fundamental requirement of EU telecom rules, and without which effective competition and consumers' rights will suffer," she said.
Originally, the commission in October 2005 sent notices to seven countries, including Estonia and Latvia, for failing to notify the commission "of electronic communications market reviews as required by the regulatory framework." A second round of notices was sent last year to three countries 's Belgium, Estonia and Latvia 's though eventually Estonia still failed to do what was required.

In another bureaucratic shortcoming, Lithuania has been issued a warning by one of its own eurocrats that it may be forced to return unused EU funds in 2008 if the Baltic state fails to absorb the money in due time.
EU Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite, a Lithuanian, said the rate of absorption of EU funds in the Baltic state "is getting worse." "In 2004, Lithuania was one of the leaders {among EU members], in 2005 it was somewhere in the middle, and in 2006 it was among the last," she said March 26.

She said areas such as environmental protection, knowledge-based economy and science required more effort so that Lithuania could extract maximum benefit from EU funding.
Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas admitted the problem. "The culprit is bureaucracy," he said. "Some of our departments tend to apply too many safeguards, although we must ensure transparent absorption."
Total EU assistance to Lithuania amounts to 23 billion litas (6.6 billion euros) during the 2007 - 2013 budgeting period.