The EU telecoms' rules ensure that Europeans have access to specific helplines starting with the number 116.

EU rules on on 116

A specific Commission Decision established 116 and laid down the rules on:

  • the scope of the 116 numbers
  • the reservation of 116 numbers and their assignment to operators
  • and, in its annex, the numbers themselves

The list of numbers in the annex was then replaced by 2009 decision.

The decisions were based on the telecom rules on the harmonisation of numbers with the aim to promote pan-European services, as stated in Article 10(4) of the Framework Directive

Moreover, Article 27 of the amended Universal Service Directive requires the EU Member States to:

  • promote the specific 116 numbers
  • ensure that disabled end-users are able to access the 116 numbers
  • ensure that citizens are adequately informed of the existence and use of the 116 numbers, in particular targeting persons travelling in the EU
  • guarantee that citizens have access to a missing children hotline under the number 116000

The Implementation of the 116 numbers

The Commission regularly publishes a report on the state of implementation of 116 numbers. The implementation report of 2013 shows that not all the Member States assigned the 116 numbers and made them operational.