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The beginnings of (real) supranational telecom regulation

The first supranational regulator was created in the Eastern Caribbean in the 1990s. It was a logical solution to the problem of micro states that lacked adequate capacity still wanting to do conventional regulation. But it sorely lacked teeth. Now we have a supra-national regulator with teeth.

Well worth watching because national regulation is not working too well. Perhaps true independence will come only when it is supra-national.

On May 25, Berec won the right to review decisions like these to verify their conformity with E.U. telecommunications law. The commission’s powers have also been enhanced: It and Berec can now ask to scrutinize local decisions more closely by ordering a “second-phase” review, a process designed to goad national regulators into adhering to E.U. rules or facing a commission veto. Before May 25, the commission could only comment on, but not veto, wayward national regulations.

Officially it is the commission, not Berec, that would wield the veto. But Berec could play a significant enforcer’s role if it shared the commission’s concerns about compliance.

The fact that Berec exists at all is a victory of sorts. Initially, the commission sought to obtain an undisputed veto over national regulators. But individual countries like Britain, wary of losing control to Brussels, objected. The resulting compromise created an advisory panel whose members must obtain a high degree of unanimity before they can sanction or criticize each other or make other significant decisions.

Full report.


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