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18.9.

2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 261 E/23

(2001/C 261 E/022) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4060/00


by Konstantinos Hatzidakis (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(9 January 2001)

Subject: Delay in deregulation of the telecommunications market in Greece

The Greek Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) is under an obligation to begin deregulating the
country’s telecommunications market on 1 January 2001. However, it will not be feasible to open the
market up significantly until mid-2001, as the OECD noted in a recent report. The basic obstacle is the
OTE’s lack of a pricing policy for leasing its infrastructure to companies providing telecommunications
services. Moreover, Presidential Decree 437/95 assigned to OTE frequencies for every service, including
those which, according to international criteria, should be used for UMTS third-generation mobile
telephony. The legislation concerned is directly contrary to Community law (Directive 97/13/EC (1) on
licences) and even to Greek law itself (Law 2246/94, as applicable to 31 December 2000, and the Law on
telecommunications and related matters, which has been adopted and is to be published shortly in the
Government Gazette).

1. What information does the Commission have concerning the benefits to Greek consumers to be
derived from the deregulation of telecommunications at the prescribed time?

2. Has the Commission requested explanations from the Greek Government concerning the failure to
meet the relevant deadlines and, if so, what clarification did the Greek authorities provide?

3. What measures will the Commission take to resolve the delay in deregulating telecommunications in
Greece and what action will it take should Greece not meet the deadlines laid down?

(1) OJ L 117, 7.5.1997, p. 15.

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(12 March 2001)

1. Concerning the benefits to Greek consumers arising from the deregulation on 1 January 2001, the
Commission has identified a number of benefits deriving from the liberalisation of the telecommunications
markets, most recently in its sixth Report on the implementation of the telecommunications regulatory
package (1), which was published in December 2000. The Commission has also stressed on many occasions
that liberalisation of the telecommunications markets encourages economic development in the Member
States and in particular that consumers will benefit from having the opportunity of using high-quality
services at lower prices and having more choice in selecting these services, and that new technologies will
be deployed more rapidly.

2. The Commission follows closely the implementation of the Community Directives in all Member
States. In those cases where there is a failure either to transpose or to implement the Directives effectively,
the Commission has consistently taken action against the Member States concerned. In the case of Greece,
ten infringement proceedings were opened either for failure to communicate the national measures to
transpose the Directives or for not implementing them correctly. Seven of these were closed upon
notification of the measures transposing the Directives, while three are still pending. In particular, the
Commission has formally requested the Greek authorities to submit their observations in regard to the
implementation of the licensing (2) and interconnection (3) Directives and, as regards the specific matter
raised by the Honourable Member of the pricing of leased infrastructure, the adoption of a cost accounting
system as required by the leased lines Directive (4). In relation to UMTS, Decision No 128/1999/EC (5)
requires Member States to take all actions necessary to allow the introduction of UMTS services by
1 January 2002 at the latest. In this regard, the Greek Government has informed the Commission that it is
planning to launch a competition for granting UMTS licences by June 2001.
C 261 E/24 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 18.9.2001

3. As full liberalisation took effect in January 2001, the Commission follows closely the developments
in all segments of the Greek telecommunications market, and should a violation of Community law come
to its attention, it is committed to using all tools provided by the EC Treaty to force Greece to comply
with its obligations arising from Community law. In September 2000, the Commission held a bilateral
meeting with the Greek authorities where it stressed that it has a Treaty obligation to open further
proceedings against Greece in cases where Community law is not applied.

(1) Communication from the Commission to the Council, the Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the
Committee of the Regions, COM(2000) 814 final.
(2) Directive 97/13 EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 10 April 1997 on a common framework for general
authorizations and individual licences in the field of telecommunications services, OJ L 117, 7.5.1997.
(3) Directive 97/33/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 1997 on interconnection in Telecommunica-
tions with regard to ensuring universal service and interoperability through application of the principles of Open
Network Provision (ONP), OJ L 199, 26.7.1997.
(4) Council Directive 92/44/EEC of 5 June 1992 on the application of open network provision to leased lines, OJ L
165, 19.6.1992.
(5) Decision No 128/1999/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 1998 on the coordinated
introduction of a third-generation mobile and wireless communications system (UMTS) in the Community, OJ L
17, 22.1.1999.

(2001/C 261 E/023) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4102/00


by Jonas Sjöstedt (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(10 January 2001)

Subject: The EIB and the Århus Convention

Does the Commission consider that the European Investment Bank (EIB) is covered by the obligations
contained in the Århus Convention?

Answer given by Mr Solbes Mira on behalf of the Commission

(22 March 2001)

The United Nations Economic Commission of Europe’s Convention on access to Justice, public participa-
tion in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters (the ‘Aarhus Convention’) has been
signed by all the Member States and by the Community. It will only enter into force when the minimum
number of ratifications (16) has been reached. This is not yet the case.

A declaration in the Convention, made at time of signature by the Community, provides the following:

Within the institutional and legal context of the Community and given also the provision of the
Treaty with respect to future legislation on transparency, the Community also declares that the
Community institutions will apply the Convention within the framework of existing and future rules
on access to documents and other relevant rules of Community law in the field covered by the
Convention. The Community will consider whether any further declarations will be necessary when
ratifying the Convention for the purpose of its application to Community institutions.

A legislative proposal for a Regulation prepared by the Commission (1) is at present being discussed by the
Parliament and the Council. It is based on Article 255 (ex Article 191A) of the EC Treaty and regards the
access to documents of the Community institutions. This proposed Regulation concerns the Parliament, the
Council and the Commission, which are the three Community institutions foreseen by the same Article
255.