EC takes Belgium to court over independence of BIPT

17 Oct 2014

The European Commission (EC) has reportedly referred Belgium to the European Court of Justice, claiming that the country had ignored a formal request to ensure the independence of its telecoms regulator, the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT). With the EC having called on the Belgian government to give up powers to suspend decisions taken by the BIPT last April, at that date the European Union (EU) executive had argued that such a situation could affect the watchdog’s ability to ensure fair competition. Commenting on the situation, the EC had noted: ‘The Commission considers that these elements limit the independence of the BIPT when implementing EU telecom rules and that this can have negative consequences for competition in the sector.’ Having referred the case to the apex court, this could now mean Belgium would be forced to update legislation so that the state can no longer interfere in the BIPT’s decisions or require that the regulator submit its multi-annual strategy for approval.