Glossary Inforegio English
With the prospect of the internal market being completed, telecommunications
liberalisation emerged as a priority for the European Community
in 1987 (Green Paper on the development of the common market for
telecommunications services and equipment). In 1988, a directive
opened the telecommunications terminals markets up to competition.
This was supplemented in 1994 by provisions on satellite equipment.
In the second phase of this development, a directive adopted in
1990 liberalised telecommunications services other than voice telephony.
It was extended in 1994 to satellite communications and broadcasting
services and then, in 1996, to cable television networks and mobile
communications. At the same time, an open telecommunications infrastructure
and services network (ONP) was put in place from 1990. The adoption
of common rules allowed the conditions of access to the market for
new operators to be harmonised. Also in 1990, a directive liberalised
procedures for the award of contracts in water, energy and telecommunications.
In 1993, the Council decided to fully liberalise voice telephony
services by 1 January 1998. Luxembourg has two extra years because
of the size of its network. An extension was given to Spain, Ireland,
Greece and Portugal until 2003. At the same time, a Commission communication
defined the concept of universal service, detailing the provision
and quality of the service, the charging principles and the dispute
The concept of the 'information society', with its attendant promise
of economic growth and job creation, started to take hold from 1994.
The general liberalisation of telecommunications structures was
pushed forward from this time to allow multimedia development. In
1995, it was decided that it should proceed under the same conditions
as the liberalisation of voice telephony services.
In order to facilitate the creation of a genuine European telecommunications
market, various initiatives were adopted on the harmonisation of
mobile (single European GSM standard) and satellite communications
standards, and the integrated services digital network (ISDN). The
European Community also finances research programmes in information
technologies and the creation of trans-European telecommunications
networks, thanks to the European Regional Development Fund and the
European Investment Bank.
Territorial Employment Pacts:
A pact is an agreement between local partners, published in a strategic
document and accompanied by operational or financial commitments
undertaken by each of them. The measures must promote job creation
and economic development. A pact can be drawn up for a city, rural
area or local labour market. The territory will generally be larger
than a municipality but smaller than a region.
In order to exploit the full potential of the single market, the
Community is contributing towards the development of trans-European
networks (Articles 129b-129d of the EC Treaty), that is cross-frontier
infrastructures in the field of transport, energy, telecommunications
and the environment. Measures taken must promote the interoperability
of national networks and access to them. In 1994 the European Council
decided to provide support for 14 priority transport projects and
10 energy projects.
In 1999 the economic and social situation in some regions was such
that continued Community regional assistance in 2000-2006 was no
longer justified. Phasing out measures were designed to avoid a
brutal cut-off of assistance to these regions:
· Regions which were eligible under Objective 1 in 1994-99
will continue to receive support until the end of 2005. If areas
in these regions meet the criteria for the new Objective 2, they
will continue to receive support from the four Structural Funds
until the end of 2006. Until that date, other areas will continue
to receive assistance from the ESF (Objective 3) and possibly the
EAGGF Guidance Section (rural development) and the FIFG (fisheries)
but not from the ERDF.
· Areas which were eligible under Objectives 2 (industrial
conversion) and 5(b) (rural development) in 1994-99 will receive
transitional support from the ERDF until the end of 2005. They will
also receive assistance under Objective 3 for 2000-2006 with possible
assistance for rural development and fisheries.
Universal service is a concept developed by the Community institutions.
It refers to the set of general interest demands to which services
such as telecommunications and the mail should be subject throughout
the Community. The aim is to ensure that all users have access to
quality services at an affordable price.
This is one of the four Community Initiatives which will operate
in 2000-2006. Its work focuses on the economic and social regeneration
of towns and urban areas in difficulty to promote sustainable urban
development. Its funding for 2000-2006 will total EUR 700 million.
The other three Initiatives are Leader+ (rural development), Equal
(equal opportunities) and Interreg (cross-border, transnational
and interregional cooperation).