30 JUN 2015

Rip-off roaming charges to be scrapped across Europe by June 2017 and 'significantly cut' next year

Mobile phone roaming charges are to be abolished in June 15 2017 across the European Union, meaning holidaymakers will no longer have to worry about the dreaded 'bill shock' when they use their phone abroad...

"We finally have a date for the complete abolition of mobile roaming charges," said Vicky Ford MEP.

"From next summer people travelling in Europe will see a significant cut on their roaming charges, and from 2017 they will be abolished altogether, enabling people to use their apps, make calls and send a text just as if they were at home.

"This is a sensible timescale that gives mobile operators the time to sort out the marketplace in preparation for the abolition of roaming fees."

Read the full story by Olivia Solon in the Mirror here


30 JUN 2015

EU roaming charges to end in 2017

Mobile roaming charges are set to be scrapped within the European Union from June 2017.

Under the new rules, mobile phone users will pay the same price to make calls, send text messages and use data wherever they are in the EU, meaning calling friends or family while travelling will make no difference to bills from June 15, 2017, the European Commission announced...

Conservative MEP Vicky Ford said: " We finally have a date for the complete abolition of mobile roaming charges.

"From next summer people travelling in Europe will see a significant cut on their roaming charges, and from 2017 they will be abolished altogether, enabling people to use their apps, make calls and send a text just as if they were at home.

"On net neutrality it is important that the internet remains open and neutral, and we now have rules in place on how traffic is managed to ensure that there is no anti-competitive behaviour.

"Making sure children can use the internet safely is vital. It was therefore crucial that parental controls such as those used in the UK can continue.

"Last-minute changes to the agreement will not exempt parental controls and spam blockers from the law, but after very close liaison with ministers back in the UK we have negotiated a position that should allow the British Government to pass its own law to maintain parental controls. There will be a transition period to allow this to be put in place and we will be scrutinising the detail to make sure the UK can continue to have parental controls.

"This law was aimed at improving the rights of consumers and giving telecoms operators clarity on the rules going forward. In many areas we have achieved our goals, but some of the last-minute fudges in the legislation have left some question marks hanging over how this will be implemented."

 

Read the full story by the Bicester Advertiser here


30 JUN 2015

EU Backs Diluted Form of Net Neutrality Law

After almost two years of wrangling among lawmakers, the European Union on Tuesday agreed to a watered-down version of a telecommunications law that would scrap cellphone roaming costs in mid-2017 and proposes equal treatment of Internet traffic starting next year, though the law leaves open the option for some exceptions...

"It is important that the Internet remains open and neutral, and we now have rules in place on how traffic is managed, to ensure that there is no anticompetitive behavior," saidVicky Ford, a British Conservative member of parliament who took part in the negotiations.

But critics argue the law is contradictory because it aims to purge Web traffic of all discrimination but simultaneously allows for exceptions to the rule.

Read the full article on the Wall Street Journal here


30 JUN 2015

Mobile roaming charges ban in 2017

After months of delay, European negotiators finally agreed early Tuesday morning to a provisional deal on reforms that will secure open Internet access and eliminate mobile phone roaming charges throughout the EU starting in June 2017.

The deal on the telecoms single market reforms, also known as Connected Continent, was brokered by the Latvians, who hammered out a compromise between Council members, European Commission and Parliament in the final days of their presidency of the Council...

Vicky Ford, British MEP from the European Conservatives and Reformists group, took to Twitter to express her frustration at midnight: "Still in negotiations on Roaming and Net Neutrality. Taking cat herding to new extremes..."

 

read more here : Politico.eu


26 MAY 2015

Euro commissioners differ on Digital Single Market views

Commissioners singing from different song sheets as European funders reiterate their views on Digital Single Market strategy

European Commissioners Ansip and Oettinger appear to be singing from different song sheets on their proposed Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy....

During the debate, UK MEP Vicky Ford had stressed that "enabling portability must not create a back door for piracy. Creators do need to know that their work, their copyright, has value and can be enforced."

Read more here


26 MAY 2015

Speech heralds start of big decisions on Europe

The Prime Minister is poised to spend a great deal more time in mainland Europe negotiating our terms and conditions with the European Union as an in/out referendum becomes the centrepiece of tomorrow's Queen's Speech.

The promise to give the nation a say over whether we remain in the European Union by 2017, set out in black and white in his manifesto, looks set to pass into law fairly easily with Labour now backing the plans for a referendum, but pledging to campaign to keep Britain in the EU.

Our relationship with the institution has come to a head with voters increasingly showing their Eurosceptic colours. Three out of seven of our Euro MPs in the East are UK Independence Party politicians, and some Conservatives are also keen for a so-called "Brexit"...

Eastern region Euro MP Vicky Ford said she was optimistic about the chances of renegotiation.

"People are listening and they are open to discussion. They are more open to discussions than they would have been three or four years ago.

"What I am seeing is a lot of different members from different countries saying we want to keep the UK in, partly because of the relationship with the single market, but also, compared to two or three years ago across the continent, and especially along the Eastern borders, there is an increasing security concern. They want a close relationship with the UK because they feel we are a strong friend when it comes to security and defence issues."

She acknowledged that many businesses wanted the UK to stay in the European Union, while also wanting reform.

"They want to have votes. They all want reform and they want a pro-competitiveness-type reform. This discussion has got a long way to go. From my point of view, I want to see detailed reforms to meet concerns about border controls, the independence of our currency and economy, because we are not in the euro, and also the independence of our courts and justice system."

Read the full article by Annablle Dickson at EDP


22 MAY 2015

VAT rules crippling online entrepreneurs

If Europe is to prosper and grow we must support small businesses and make sure that the single market is fit for purpose in a digital age.

We often hear talk of the 'unintended consequences' of regulation on businesses and consumers. Nowhere is this more visible than the impact that new rules for VAT collection have had on microbusinesses.

At the end of last year, VAT rules were changed so that it is charged at the rate where the buyer lives, not where the seller is located. This was intended to tackle the problem of large multinationals like Amazon not paying significant VAT due to their being based in low tax member states.

 

Read more at The Parliament Magazine


19 MAY 2015

Obstacles to EU digital single market remain

The EU wants to step up its single market in digital services, but many obstacles remain before it can truly be realized.

On Tuesday Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) discussed the plan set out by the European Commission to make it easier for businesses and consumers in the EU to trade online across national borders.

Some 315 million Europeans use the internet every day, and the Commission says a digital single market could create up to 415 billion euros (462 billion U.S. dollars) in additional growth and hundreds of thousands of new jobs...

British MEP Vicky Ford, speaking for the European Conservatives & Reformists (ECR), said: "Unlocking the benefits is key to driving competiveness, jobs and growth. The Commission strategy is good in parts but needs more work in others. The digital market is a global market and building a fortress around Europe will not work."

 

read the full article at China-Europe 


19 MAY 2015

Digital single market: creating opportunities for European companies

Could creating a digital single market in the EU and removing barriers online help give a boost to European companies? The European Commission outlined its strategy on 6 May, while it will also feature on the agenda of the European Council on 25-26 June. Meanwhile the Parliament is planning to respond with an own-initiative report on the digital market. They debated the issue on 19 May, during which MEPs highlighted the challenges and potential benefits involved.

Andrus Ansip, the commissioner responsible for the digital single market, started off the debate by saying the proposed strategy should help to prepare Europe for "a bright digital future". He added that the initiatives must be taken together as a package: "If we only succeed in putting half of them into effect then we will not end up with a true digital single market."

...

"Unlocking the benefits is key to driving competiveness, jobs and growth. The Commission strategy is good in parts but needs more work in others," said UK ECR member Vicky Ford. "The digital market is a global market and building a fortress around Europe will not work."

Read more on Europarl


18 MAY 2015

Telecoms single market package limps to Council

Telecoms single market package limps to Council

The next installment of the telecoms single market drama is playing out on Tuesday, with the Latvian presidency presenting the latest compromise proposal to Council, which has been criticized openly for holding up progress on the package.

With the clock ticking down to a July handover to the incoming Luxembourg presidency, the Latvians are left with little to show for six months of work on the TSM. The latest compromise attempts to mollify member states on roaming while placating the European Parliament on open internet access, (relatively) free from discrimination, otherwise known as net neutrality...

British conservative MEP Vicky Ford's campaign to include an exemption to net neutrality rules for parental control measures, which allow parents to opt into an ISP-based web filter for porn and gratuitously violent content, has paid dividends, with the draft allowing the measures to go ahead.

Read the ful article by ZOYA SHEFTALOVICH on Politico


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