The European Commission (EC) has decided to refer Estonia to the EU’s Court of Justice because its law does not guarantee the impartiality of the national telecoms regulator.

According to EU telecoms rules, national authorities exercising regulatory tasks cannot be involved in the ownership or control of telecoms companies.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in Estonia falls foul of this particular requirement.

While the ministry exercises control of state-owned company Levira – the largest TV and radio broadcast network operator in Estonia, which provides telecoms services such as broadcasting and wireless broadband access – it also undertakes some regulatory tasks, including the allocation of radio frequencies.

The EC sent Estonia a formal request to comply with EU rules in June 2012 but Estonia has still not adapted its national law to guarantee the impartiality of the telecoms regulator. That, says the Commission, can have negative consequences for sector competition.