The European Parliament today backed the EU telecoms reform package, including key measures that will see an end to roaming charges and guarantee net neutrality – although the proposal was never under serious threat.
The result was unlikely to deliver any serious surprises, since the text in question was agreed between the parliament, European Commission and the Council of Ministers in June.
However, Pilar del Castillo Vera, the bill’s main parliamentary backer, was heckled during her victory speech and amendments were proposed (but rejected). Supporters of tighter net neutrality failed to muster enough votes to cause an upset.
In a speech ahead of the vote, European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip hailed the compromise behind the vote: “Adopting the rules for a Telecoms Single Market will be a major achievement for the Digital Single Market. It will show Europeans that the Union can deliver tangible results. You now have the deal in your hands. It is a good deal, for Europe and Europeans.”
The agreement between the three bodies will see an end to roaming charges from June next year as well introducing net neutrality for the first time in EU law. The latter rules will come into effect from 30 April, 2016.
However, it followed some fraught negotiation. Ansip himself appeared in despair at times. Back in March this year, he described the chance of reaching a compromise agreement as “an uphill struggle”. However, presumably today he is adopting a lighter tone.