telecoms package

Revision of the "telecoms package" directives

Joint Civil-Society Statement Addresses Net Neutrality in Europe

Paris, 2 may 2016 — In a joint letter, 73 organisations from 31 countries call on the European Telecom Regulators to uphold net neutrality in their current negotiations about the future of the Internet in Europe.

Viviane Reding - Openness, inter-operability and neutrality

« Indeed, the architectural principles that underlie the Internet we have today, namely the principles of openness, inter-operability and neutrality do not only create an environment that enables innovation in services and applications, more importantly they allow for an environment where users can express themselves freely without discrimination by their service provider. Therefore, those basic design principles need to be preserved. »

Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and the Media - February 3rd 2009

The Commission can accept this amendment (138)

« As already stated on 6 October, the Commission can accept this amendment (138), which was voted by a nine-tenths majority in the European Parliament plenary (MEMO/08/681). The Commission considers this amendment to be an important restatement of key legal principles of the Community legal order, especially of citizens' fundamental rights.

Sarkozy and the Wild Web

« It was extremely helpful in raising awareness to have President Sarkozy say the Internet is not the Wild West and that ISPs must take steps in connection with piracy. That has been the catalyst for other governments to look at this more closely. »

Jo Oliver, in charge of the IFPI's litigation activities - NYtimes.com, april 13th, 2008

Flog ‘em and hang ‘em’ brigade

« Well, according to an expert in the specialised area that is European politics, this amendment could be significant and might spike the guns of the pro-copyright “flog ‘em and hang ‘em’ brigade (now led by French President, Nicolas Sarkozy) »

telecomtv.com - april 2008

Banning people from printing books

« It's a breach of our civil liberties, when government limits access to the Internet it's like limiting freedom of speech. It's like banning people from printing books. »

Christofer Fjellner, Swedish legislator in the European Parliament who sponsored the banning of the "graduated response" in an adopted amendment.

Bono Amendment

« Calls on the Commission and the Member States to recognise that the Internet is a vast platform for cultural expression, access to knowledge, and democratic participation in European creativity, bringing generations together through the information society; calls on the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness, such as the interruption of Internet access. »

Amendment 138 - Legalese for Progress, not political weakness

Tonight, a conciliation committee meeting will take place between the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. Both institutions will try to resolve their year-long dispute over amendment 138 by considering a worthless compromise proposal.

In the past days, some Members of the Parliament have been convinced to depart from the strong protection for the freedom of expression and communication granted by amendment 138. They bought the arguments put forward by the Council, as well as the Parliament's own legal services who conducted a biased analysis at the request of rapporteurs Catherine Trautmann and Alejo Vidal-Quadras. According to amendment 138 opponents, the European treaties do not allow the Parliament to require that Member States adapt their judicial system to better protect European citizens. However, case law seems to indicate that this is just an abusive argument aimed at concealing their political timidity.

Amendment 138, provides that “no restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users, without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities”.

An evolution of "amendment 138"

Here is a comparison chart of the different versions of "amendment 138" along the whole co-decision procedure.







Denomination Wording of the text Quick analysis and references

Original amendment 138 voted on Sept 24th 2008

, 8.4.g of the Framework directive, tabled by Bono (PSE, FR), Cohn-Bendit (Greens, FR) and Roithova (EPP, CZ)

Indisputable rewording of Amendment 138

La Quadrature du Net sent this proposal to the Parliament last week.

It takes into account the good-faith concerns expressed against the original version of amendement 138 (see our memo), which was voted twice by 88% of the European Parliament. Located in article 8.4.h of the Framework directive, it gives National Regulatory Authorities shall promote the interests of the citizens of the European Union by:

Memo: Improving Amendment 138 While Preserving its Core Principles

The Council of the European Union opposes amendment 1381 for reasons that are still unclear. However, the Commission has come up with a new proposal2, supposedly backed by the Council, which could allow for worrying exceptions to the fundamental rights guaranteed by Community law. However, there are good-faith concerns about the current wording of amendment 138. Although its core principles need to be preserved, amendment 138 can and should be improved to better respect the Community legal order.

This memo (download this memo as a PDF file) aims to:
i) point out the dangerous elements of the Commission's new proposal;
ii) outline various aspects of amendment 138 that could be improved to better fit Community law;
iii) explain how a reworded provision could preserve the core principles of amendment 138

  • 1. Amendment 138: Article 8.4.g of the Framework Directive. (...) "No restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end-users, without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities, notably in accordance with Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union on freedom of expression and information, save when public security is threatened in which case the ruling may be subsequent."
  • 2. Commission's new compromise proposal: Article 1.3.a of the Framework directive. "Measures taken by the Member States regarding end-users' access to and use of services and applications through electronic communications networks shall respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons, including in relation to privacy, freedom of expression and access to information and due process and the right to effective judicial protection in compliance with the general principles of Community law. Any such measure shall in particular respect the principle of a fair and impartial procedure, including the right to be heard. This paragraph is without prejudice to the competence of a Member State to determine in line with its own constitutional order and with fundamental rights appropriate procedural safeguards assuring due process. These may include a requirement of a judicial decision authorising the measures to be taken and may take account of the need to adopt urgent measures to be taken and may take account of the need to adopt urgent measures in order to assure national security, defence, public security and the prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of criminal offences".

Telecoms Package: Does the EU Council hate Freedom?

As the negotiations of the conciliation committee on the Telecoms Package unfold, the Council of the European Union came up with a new, alarming proposal.

Telecoms Package: Why the European Parliament must fight for amendment 138

On Monday, September 28th, the Conciliation committee on the Telecoms Package – a major reform of the Telecommunications sector in the European Union (EU) – started discussing contentious provisions that remain in the text. Early May, Rapporteurs for the EP and diplomats from the Council of the EU reached a consensus on the whole package, but one amendment that was finally passed by the Parliament : the notorious amendment 138. This fundamental provision is now at the heart of the negotiation.

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