Access to data is essential; therefore, citizens who move between countries should not be penalised, believes Róbert Hajšel

International roaming at domestic prices is, for Europeans one of the most tangible and widely appreciated benefits of EU membership, says S&D Group shadow rapporteur
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By Róbert Hajšel

Róbert Hajšel (SK, S&D) is a shadow rapporteur on the new EU Roaming Regulation

18 Oct 2021

International roaming at domestic prices is, for Europeans one of the most tangible and widely appreciated benefits of EU membership.

Therefore the value of an extension of the current rules, to further improve the quality of roaming services, should be obvious. 

We are going to remove the remaining barriers and obstacles and get rid of any sort of discriminatory practices.

We want to increase the quality of the services provided and make sure that every European citizen has equal access to the latest generation of networks, emergency services and value-added services.

“In the long term, our intention is to include roaming provisions in future international agreements with third countries, particularly those bordering with the EU”

This should be irrespective of where they come from, how long they stay abroad or which language they speak. I am glad that all our S&D priorities are strongly reflected.

While abroad, our citizens should be entitled to the same services with the same quality as when using their mobile phone in their home country; any practices leading to a decrease in quality should be prohibited.

Data caps should be a thing of the past. Our goal is to remove any obstacles, and it is not acceptable that those citizens who benefit from free movement within the EU and travel for work or personal purposes should have to pay more if they stay abroad longer than the average. 

When travelling from one member state to another, people may notice that after some time the 4G network connection is downgraded to 3G.

Moreover, if the operator detects that the user is staying abroad longer, the user will not be entitled to the ‘Roam like at home’ rules, and will have to pay standard roaming charges. This has to be changed.

Increasing data usage and the latest technologies such as the Internet of Things and M2M should also be reflected, and we will also push for the removal of surcharges on intra-EU calls.  

In the long term, our intention is to include roaming provisions in future international agreements with third countries, particularly those bordering with the EU. This would ease the life of thousands of European citizens.

As S&D negotiator on roaming, I am proud that we have managed to negotiate a strong Parliament position that clearly stands for the rights of our citizens.

I am fully aware that the upcoming trilogues will be very challenging, bearing in mind the differences in the positions of the Parliament and the Council. However, I hope that the outcome will be a step forward towards a better-harmonised digital single market.

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