On 22 March, the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee as well as the Culture and Education Committee voted on the Commission proposal to reduce, by means of an EU Regulation, international mobile roaming charges by up to 70% by this summer.

After the vote on the report of Rapporteur Joseph Muscat (PSE, Malta) - for the Internal Market Committee - and of Manolis Mavrommatis (EPP-ED, Greece) - for the Culture Committee -, EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding commented as follows:

"I welcome that in today's votes, two further Committees of the European Parliament have supported the main elements of the EU Regulation proposed by the Commission: caps for roaming charges both at wholesale and at retail level as well as clear transparency provisions.

I welcome also the ambitious wholesale tariff favoured by the Internal Market Committee and the fact that it rejected the idea of supplementary average caps.

However, I find it regrettable that many in the European Parliament want only new customers to profit automatically from cheaper roaming tariffs. Mobile phone penetration in the EU is today at 103% - there are thus not many consumers who would profit from the EU regulation if it would apply automatically only to new customers.

The whole debate about "opt in" - "opt out" is also about who finally will have to be in charge of advertising for cheaper roaming tariffs. I believe the burden of proof should be on the operators to demonstrate that their packages are really cheaper - and thereby to convince consumers to "opt out" from the consumer protection tariff. If consumers first of all will have to "opt in" to the cheaper consumer protection tariff, then operators will be able to rely on the passivity of many consumers. And it will in the end be the European taxpayer who will have to pay for national regulators and the European institutions to explain to every single consumers that they have a right now to opt in.

Even though I welcome the general trend towards a fast consensus on the EU Roaming Regulation, I believe that this aspect merits some further reflection. The new EU Roaming Regulation should benefit all consumers, and nobody should be left behind."

The next steps in the legislative process are:

  • Vote in the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (leading) on 12 April, Rapporteur: Paul Rübig.
  • Vote in the plenary of the European Parliament: in the course of May.
  • Formal EU Telecom Council in Luxembourg: 7 June.

Further information: