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EC refers issue of Estonian telecoms regulator impartiality to Court of Justice

31 May 2013

Amid continued concerns regarding laws governing the role of the Estonian telecoms regulator, the European Commission (EC) has confirmed it is referring the matter to the European Court of Justice.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in June 2012 the EC sent a formal request to the Estonian authorities, directing the country to ensure it was compliant with EU rules requiring a clear separation between bodies which regulate the telecoms sector and companies providing telecoms services. The EC at that date noted that the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (MEAC) also controlled local WiMAX provider Levira. With the Commission having opened infringement proceedings against Estonia back in September 2011 for not adhering to separation principles, the June 2012 formal request took the form of a ‘reasoned opinion’ under EU infringement rules. As such, Estonia was given two months to advise the EC as to measures it had taken to comply with the European regulation.

In the latest development the EC noted that despite its previous warnings ‘Estonia has not adapted its national law to guarantee the impartiality of the telecoms regulator and this can have negative consequences for competition in the sector’.

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