Brussels accepts Spain's changes in creation of single supervisory body

EC vice president Neelie Kroes says she is satisfied with the proposed amendments

Ramón Muñoz
Barcelona -

The European Commission will not initiate sanction procedures against Spain after accepting amendments the government is proposing to make to new draft legislation on merging a number of key supervisory bodies.

EC vice president Neelie Kroes, who is responsible for Europe’s so-called Digital Agenda, expressed her approval of the proposed changes in a meeting on Tuesday with Energy and Tourism Minister José Manuel Soria on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress currently taking place in Barcelona.

Kroes was concerned about the impact on consumers of the government’s plan to put agencies that currently oversee the energy, trade and telecommunications sectors into a single body, to be called the National Commission for Markets and Competition.

"The proposed legislation infringes on the wording and spirit of the European law on telecommunications," Kroes wrote in a letter to Soria earlier this month. "The Commission has no other choice but to present a case for violations if the legislation is adopted without substantial changes related to the independence and functions of the regulators.

However, Soria agreed to maintain the independence of the Commission for the Telecommunications Market (CMT). “Deal! New Spanish regulator will keep full CMT competences of today and the former functional separation competence will be reinserted,” Kroes said on Twitter, describing her meeting with Soria as “constructive.”

Soria said the new single regulator will have two sections: one covering competition and the other the different sectors of the economy. He also said the regulator would have budgetary independence as demanded by Brussels. The amendments are to be made in the parliamentary passage of the draft bill creating the single supervisory body, which will also obtain economy from rates charged to companies.

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