Today, the Estonian Minister for Entrepreneurship and IT Urve Palo chaired the Council meeting in Luxembourg, marking the first Telecommunication formal ministerial meeting held by the Estonian Presidency.
Ministers in charge of telecommunications and digital affairs from all member states held debates on the implementation of the Digital Single Market Strategy, establishing a common understanding of the cybersecurity package and the roll out of the 5G network.
Ministers followed up on discussions held at the European Council last week and at the Tallinn Digital Summit. “Today’s Europe is fragmented when it comes to our digital affairs. It is of the utmost importance that we move swiftly in updating our rules and regulations in order to build a connected and truly digital Europe. Our heads of state and government tasked us to intensify our efforts to complete digital single market files by the end of next year,” said Minister Urve Palo, the Estonian Minister for Entrepreneurship and IT.
“We reached an agreement today that the most pressing issues regarding DSM are abolishing geo-blocking, advancing on the audiovisual media services directive, and the parcel delivery regulation. For all three, it’s important that we have a spirit of compromise and that we must reach a common understanding by end of this year with European Parliament. In particular, I look forward to starting work on trilogues with the Parliament on the cross-border parcel delivery regulation. We have decided to prioritise concluding negotiations with the European Parliament under the Estonian Presidency and will do everything to ensure swift adoption of this important e-commerce related digital single market initiative,” commented the Estonian Minister.
At the Estonian Presidency press conference in Luxembourg the Minister underlined that Europe needs a common understanding on yet unresolved challenges in cybersecurity. “We all agreed here that Europe must become the trailblazer for global cybersecurity. Every year, the world loses 400 billion euros to cyber-attacks, not to mention the unmeasurable cost of violated privacy. Staying secure online is as important as physical safety nowadays,” said Minister Palo.
The Estonian Presidency plans to make fast progress on cybersecurity. In four weeks’ time, the General Affairs Council will adopt Council Conclusions on the Commission’s cyber package. “We have also begun examining the proposal on ENISA and cyber certification. Finally, as a result of today’s meeting, we also plan to agree by December at the latest an Action Plan to implement the Commission’s revised cyber strategy. We also discussed accelerating the implementation of the NIS Directive, which needs to be integrated into the legal framework of all EU member states by May 2018, and promotion of investments in cybersecurity.”
The Minister also emphasised her colleagues’ dedication to the development of 5G networks. “We had a good start in July, when all EU ministers signed the 5G declaration in Tallinn and we received support to the initiative at the European Council last week. There is a reason why this has been called an EU flagship initiative - everybody and everything will be using 5G networks to communicate in the near future. Today we reviewed the topic of harmonisation and release of 5G spectrum bands. We must ensure connectivity for individual users and applications in nearly every sector of the economy. Legislative and financial tools are needed at European level in order to provide the necessary conditions for roll out of next generation connectivity.”
Tomorrow, Ambassador Clyde Kull will represent the Council at the first, exploratory trilogue on the Telecoms Code. More trilogues will follow this year. Next week, EU Telecoms directors will meet in Tallinn to discuss concrete next steps on 5G, and the ministers will report back on this to the Council in December.