Neelie Kroes wants to end mobile roaming in Europe by Easter 2014

30 May 2013

Neelie Kroes, vice-president for the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda

Mobile roaming could be a thing of the past by Easter 2014 if Neelie Kroes, vice-president for the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, has her way. In a speech to a European Parliament Committee, she said she wanted to complete the single telecoms market in Europe by next year.

Kroes told the members of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) at the European Parliament in Brussels that she wants them to be able to go back to their constituents and say they were able to end mobile roaming costs.

She said the commission has made a lot of progress in the area of roaming and that it is the one thing that Euro critics can agree has been a success.

But the time has come for European nations to end roaming altogether and forge a single telecoms market.

A single telecoms market by Easter 2014

“It is my belief that we can deliver such a package – this full, final, package – around Easter 2014. Imagine that.”

Kroes continued: “It will be good for Europe. Good for the economy, yes – growth stimulated by breaking down barriers. But when I think about this package I think about people rather than numbers.

“Take the young generation – the generation that cares most about being connected, but who votes the least. They need a strong and digital economy to escape the unemployment trap. Think also about our ageing population: the people who need new digital services to stay healthy and active, without losing their dignity and independence.

“If we do this right, then digital connections can bring political connections. Digital dividends can bring social ones.

“I am not promising a single market package that gives you everything you dreamed of. This package will have to strike a sensitive balance. I am promising to spend the next 12 months building a bridge with you to our citizens, your constituents. Whether they need it for travel, for trade, or for transactions – our people need this reform,” Kroes said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years