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PR(04)08: The EFTA Surveillance Authority sets up an eCOM Task Force to deal with notifications under the new framework for electronic communications

5.4.2004

In preparation for the entry into force of the new regulatory package for electronic communications in the European Economic Area (EEA), the EFTA Surveillance Authority has now set up an eCOM Task Force to deal with draft measures that will be notified by national regulatory authorities in the three EEA EFTA States.

On 6 February 2004, the EEA Joint Committee adopted a decision incorporating the new rules for electronic communications services and networks into the EEA Agreement. The entry into force of the new package is expected in Autumn 2004, pending fulfilment of constitutional requirements in two of the EFTA States.

Under the two-pillar supervision system established by the EEA Agreement, the EFTA Surveillance Authority is the competent body charged with the monitoring and enforcement of the EEA Agreement in the three EEA EFTA States  Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The Authority enjoys supervision powers equivalent to those of the European Commission.

The new regulatory package creates new tasks for the Authority. It will assess notifications of draft measures to be adopted by the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in the same manner as the European Commission handles notifications by the NRAs in the EU Member States. In addition, the Authority and the Commission must adopt identical decisions defining transnational markets when such markets are cross-pillar, in other words comprising national markets in both EFTA and EU States.

The Authority has established an eCOM Task Force to handle the notification procedure. The Task Force is a joint operation between the Authority’s Internal Market Affairs Directorate and Competition and State Aid Directorate. The eCOM Task Force will co-operate closely with the Commission’s Task Forces to ensure homogenous application of the new package throughout the EEA. The eCOM Task Force represents the Authority in the European Regulators Group (ERG).

The EFTA Surveillance Authority is in the process of adopting a number of soft law measures (recommendations and guidelines), similar to those already adopted by the Commission. An EFTA Communications Committee is being set up.

The Authority will be operating an eCOM Task Force online registry for notifications from EFTA States to meet the requirements of publication and transparency provided for by the new regulatory framework.

Information relating to the mandate and the ongoing work of the eCOM Task Force is available on the Authority’s website at www.eftasurv.int/fieldsofwork/fieldservices/telecoms/dbaFile5012.html.

For any further information please contact Mr Frank Büchel, tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 62, or Ms Dessy Choumelova, tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 59.

5 April 2004




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