This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

State of Play Telecoms Single Market

Yesterday evening (night) a framework deal was reached on the Telecoms Single Market package for Europe. While the European Parliament as a whole negotiated with success, key points remain reason for concern. This is a recap of the political process around this important dossier, and the state of play as I see it. After years of the European Parliament´s push for an end to roaming charges and demands for net neutrality, the previous European Commission made a proposal for a European Telecoms Single Market. Commissioner Kroes was responsible at the time. Her proposal rested on 3 main points: unified spectrum policy, ending roaming charges and rules on net neutrality. For the European Parliament, the Commission proposals were not ambitious or clear enough. Even after the vote in the ITRE committee, there was a need for improvement. With the adoption of my plenary amendments, the European Parliament gave a strong message on behalf of citizens and start-ups, of what a good Telecoms Package would look like. Open internet Fair competition, space for innovation, and protection of the rights of internet users were at the heart of why I have been fighting for net neutrality in all of Europe. While net neutrality is often seen as a competition safeguard, it is also essential to keep the internet open, in the public interest. In The Netherlands we have initiated laws to ensure internet providers and telecoms operators do not abuse their power with anti-competitive practices. In the EU, hundreds of millions of people do not have access to all services online because net neutrality is not safeguarded. This is unacceptable. Over the past two years, while the EU was negotiating and bickering, the US adopted net neutrality rules and India is expected to do so soon. This underlines the evolving urgency of clear rules to ensure the internet remains open and competition in the digital economy is fair. This includes the need to ban on zero-rating or price discrimination, which allows operators to offer certain services without counting towards the data package purchased. Roaming I have not mentioned the ending of roaming charges in this blog as I believe the principle of net neutrality and clearly defined safeguards is the most important aspect of the package. The risk that ending roaming charges (which we all want) would distract attention from the need to enshrine net neutrality in EU law was always looming. I am afraid this is indeed what happened. Today most news is about the ending of roaming. Even though the 2 year delay is reason for concern, and everyone wants a lower phone bill, the real value is in net neutrality. What´s next? The recitals were not worked out in detail and have to be made compatible with the articles of the text. I will seek to ensure the greatest possible clarify on issues such as traffic management and specialized services, to make sure there is as little as possible vagueness on net neutrality. In the fall of 2015, the European Parliament will vote on the text formally. First in ITRE and then in the plenary session of the European Parliament. It will need a qualified majority to be approved. Please find the provisional text here. Your comments on the text, particularly on recitals, are welcome at
See also: 30-06-2015 MEP Schaake reacts to preliminary deal on Telecoms Single Market 26-03-2015 MEP: The European Digital Single Market is a pipe dream without a strong Telecom Market 04-03-2015 MEP: Council must adopt a more ambitious plan on Telecoms Single Market 03-04-2014 MEP: European Parliament supports proposal Schaake to enshrine net neutrality in European law internet-netneutrality-open