Southern Europeans should not be forced to pay the cost of ending roaming charges
The European Parliament has voted to reduce wholesale roaming charges this week, but the decision means that multinational companies will benefit and southern Europeans will pay higher prices.
Following the European Union's decision in 2015 to end roaming charges to consumers, wholesale roaming charges are now being addressed.
GUE/NGL MEPs are raising concerns over the consequences, as Shadow Rapporteur, João Ferreira, told the European Parliament this week:
“Since October 2015, we have been warning that southern European countries would be disadvantaged by the end of roaming charges and calling for measures to address this. Yet, a year and a half later, there has been no convincing response from the Rapporteur or the Commission.”
“There are more effective ways of addressing this problem than the provisions that were adopted in this report. We aim to abolish roaming charges while at the same time eliminating the risk of increasing domestic prices for consumers in southern Europe.
“The logic of liberalisation and free market competition underlie the single market for communications. As in other sectors, this simply serves the interests of multinational companies and assists them towards gaining concentrated or monopoly ownership of the mobile telecommunications sector on a European scale. This does not serve the interests of different consumers and the different member states equally.”
Cypriot MEP, Neoklis Sylikiotis, added:
“We want to end roaming charges, but this proposal will only serve the interests of multinational companies. For us, it is clear that access to telephone networks and the internet is a social right and everyone should have equal access.”
“There are many dangers in this proposal. The southern European countries where there are more tourists will bear more of the cost. The local companies will be forced to bear much higher costs during the summer months as they provide roaming services to large volumes of tourists. This will force them to either pass on the costs to their local customers by increasing the prices for domestic telephone services throughout the year or close down.
“There is nothing in this proposal to redress these problems. Instead, the EU should have created a fund to support the small countries in particular, in order to make sure that local consumers will not pay the cost.”
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings +33 3881 76723 / +32 483 03 55 75
European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)
European Parliamentary Group