Strasbourg round-up: Trans-European telecommunications

Written by Evžen Tošenovský and Gunnar Hökmark on 28 February 2014 in Special Report
Special Report

Key rapporteurs Evžen Tošenovský and Gunnar Hökmark give us their view on parliament's adoption by a large majority of guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks.

Evžen Tošenovský is parliament's rapporteur on trans-European telecommunications networks: guidelines

As rapporteur, I am very glad that a large majority of MEPs has closed the almost two and half year long story of the trans-European telecommunications networks.

Primarily due to budgetary cuts which took funding from €9.2bn down to just €1bn under the multiannual financial framework agreement, we were delayed compared to the transport and energy sectors which form the two other pillars of the connecting Europe facility.

Despite this obstacle, under the Lithuanian presidency, we reached with fast first reading agreement on the amended proposal, tabled by the commission in April 2013. Throughout the negotiations, and thanks to great support from my colleagues, the shadow rapporteurs, I have been defending two important issues.

"As a parliament priority in the negotiations on digital service infrastructures, we have underlined the need for an uninterrupted EU financing of safer internet and Europeana projects"

First, we have worked hard to secure funding for broadband networks. The amended proposal was shifting its focus from broadband to digital service infrastructures. We had to move back from our request for more ambitious broadband speeds compared to the digital agenda for Europe targets. However, we managed to earmark the adequate budget for broadband projects, of which one third will be for funding speeds above 100Mbps and thus serve as pilot projects.

As a parliament priority in the negotiations on digital service infrastructures, we have underlined the need for an uninterrupted EU financing of safer internet and Europeana projects. In view of ensuring future cost savings, we had accepted that so-called building blocks that are reusable across multiple sectors would be given top priority. Nevertheless, safer internet and Europeana gained a privileged position. At least for the next few years they will be able to provide their services at the same level as under the current community programmes.

I am convinced that we have reached a balanced compromise. Regardless of the budgetary cut, the newly set rules for the financing of digital services and broadband projects will progressively contribute to the development of the digital single market and ultimately it will be beneficial for our citizens and businesses.


Gunnar Hökmark is parliament's EPP group rapporteur on trans-European telecommunications networks: guidelines

If Europe wants to be in the lead as a knowledge economy we need to be in the lead for the most important infrastructure of the knowledge society; broadband and the internet. To be in the lead in this sector is important on its own merits, but even more so because of competitiveness and productivity, as well as for the development of the services and markets that are defining the digital economy.

"The services of today would never have been possible with the broadband capacities and speeds of yesterday. By the same logic the services of tomorrow will not be possible with the speeds and capacities of today"

When we are talking about new services and markets it is not about things taking place on the internet or in our smartphones. They are for real, corresponding to real business, real services, real payments, real jobs and real growth. What we see in the smartphone is only the digital representation of an application of reality. The apps are in the phone, but they are connecting reality to us and to the markets.

The services of today would never have been possible with the broadband capacities and speeds of yesterday. By the same logic the services of tomorrow will not be possible with the speeds and capacities of today.

That's why our key priority with the report Trans-European telecommunications networks is to raise the standards regarding speeds and capacities, demonstrating that it can be done and inspire private industry to raise their standards and technologies when deploying broadband, may it be fixed or mobile. Europe needs to be in the lead if we are to be the leaders.

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