HomeTechGermany, Italy among countries against green light of telco update

Germany, Italy among countries against green light of telco update

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The future of digital policy conclusions address the incoming European Commission.

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Germany, Italy and the Netherlands are spearheading attempts to hold the EU Council from green lighting plans to overhaul the bloc’s telecom rules when formulating guidance for the next European Commission’s tech priorities, according to minutes of a diplomats meeting seen by Euronews.

Telecoms ministers from the member states are set to discuss the guidance when they meet informally in Brussels this week (April 11-12), with the aim of fixing them in Council conclusions on 21 May, according to the minutes.

The upcoming ministerial “future of digital policy conclusions” will be further discussed and drafted by national attaches on 16 April and will also highlight the work done during the mandate of the Von der Leyen Commission, according to the internal document.

The eventual guidance paper will include chapters on the societal effects of digitalisation, digital infrastructure, and on the green and digital transitions, as well as on digital skills, the minutes said. At the request of member states, the conclusions will also include a section on the international dimension of digital policy in the Union.

But according to the minutes, governments from Croatia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden want the guidance to make no formal reference of welcoming the Commission’s white paper on the future of digital networks yet, because analysis is still ongoing and the consultation remains open until June.

Sceptical

On 21 February the EU executive launched a new round of discussions on the future of digital infrastructure, paving the way for a new telecom law for the next mandate. The executive wants to address problems with connectivity, spectrum and investment, as new technological applications require more and more data processing and storage. 

Euronews reported last month that countries are mostly sceptical about an overhaul of the Union’s telecom rules, and question the need for faster and more 5G connections. 

However, during the April 11-12 telecom ministers meeting, led by Belgium which is chairing the ministerial meetings in the first half of 2024, the Commission white paper will be part of the discussion. In anticipation of the debate, the Belgian presidency has sent out questions to the member states, about which measures could be taken to promote the deployment of sustainable digital infrastructure, reduce the carbon footprint of the digital sector and enable the greening of other sectors.

Ministers will also talk about how to promote a safer and trustworthy online environment. The Belgians have prepared a note with discussion points including how to ensure and effect use of digital identity and interaction tools, as well as what challenges platforms face when adopting such identity verification mechanisms.

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