The European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) voted on Monday, 4th September, to lower charges on international phone calls and text messages as part of a draft telecoms bill.

The S&D shadow rapporteur on the telecoms bill representing consumers and internal market, Marlene Mizzi, commented shortly after the vote: “I am very pleased with today’s result on the telecoms bill. After months of challenging negotiations, we finally came to an agreement whereby charges for calls and text messages from one EU country to another should be significantly lowered down and equalised to national calls.”

“Rates for international calls are still shockingly high for many consumers. People should not be overcharged with excessive prizes when calling or texting foreign numbers. Roaming was a great political victory, but now it is time for the next big step towards creating a single telecoms market for European consumers. Now it is time to lower international call charges,” said Marlene Mizzi.

“The vote in IMCO on the European telecoms bill was the first, but very important political step in bridging the price gap between national and international calls. The European Parliament will have to enter into negotiations with the Member States and I only hope that after the success story of abolishing roaming changes, they will see the benefits of this proposal for European citizens and support our position,” said MEP Mizzi.

The telecoms bill voted on Monday also includes important provisions in strengthening consumer’s rights in the telecom sector, improving conditions for people with disabilities, providing basic and affordable internet as a universal right to all and, last but not least, refining the existing emergency numbers 112 and 116 on missing children.

“As part of the telecom legislation, for a first time, we voted upon and agreed on creating a compulsory public warning system in each of the EU countries. The system will allow member states to provide direct information to a maximum of people present in a danger zone (terrorist attack, natural catastrophe) through the 112 emergency services number. Member states will inform citizens through their mobile phones of what is happening and what needs to be done so that people remain safe,” said Marlene Mizzi.

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