Estonia Referred to EU Courts over Independence of National Telecoms Regulator
Published on: 30th May 2013
By: Ian Mansfield
The European Commission has decided to refer Estonia to the Court of Justice of the EU over its national law which does not guarantee the impartiality of the national telecoms regulator.
According to EU telecoms rules, national authorities exercising regulatory tasks cannot at the same time be involved in the ownership or control of telecoms companies.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in Estonia carries out some regulatory tasks, in particular over the allocation of radio frequencies and procedures for granting frequency authorisations. At the same time it exercises control of the 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.
The Commission sent Estonia a formal request to comply with EU rules in June 2012 but Estonia has not adapted its national law to guarantee the impartiality of the telecoms regulator and the Commission says that this can have negative consequences for competition in the sector.