EC initiates legal action against Latvia over administrative charges

26 Jun 2009

The European Commission (EC) has announced that it has begun legal action against Latvia over the administrative charges levied by one of the country’s telecoms regulators, the Electronic Communications Office. The EC said it had concerns that the charges applied for the use of spectrum are not imposed in an ‘objective, transparent and proportionate way’, and as a result it revealed it has sent a letter of formal notice to the Latvian authorities. The EC has also raised concerns that a decision by the Latvian government in September 2007 to offer discounts of up to 50% on electromagnetic compatibility charges to state defence and security institutions, for deployment of the state private electronic communications network and for companies implementing projects receiving state or EU funding could also breach EU telecoms laws. The Latvian government has two months to respond to the letter of formal notice sent by the EC; if no reply is received, or if the EC believes observations presented are not satisfactory, it can issue a reasoned opinion (the second stage in an infringement proceeding). Commenting on the development EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding said: ‘Administrative charges levied by state authorities in the telecoms sector should cover administrative costs alone…We are worried that administrative charges levied by Latvia’s Electronic Communications Office may not comply with the EU telecoms rules that ensure fair treatment of companies, promote competition and benefit consumers.’