By Richard Eccles


The European Commission announced on 8th October 2003 that it has launched formal infringement proceedings against eight member states for failure to implement the four key Electronic Communications Directives, the Framework, Authorisations, Access and Universal Services Directives, into national law. The member states against which infringement proceedings have been commenced under Article 226 of the EC Treaty are: Belgium; Germany; Greece; Spain; France; Luxembourg; the Netherlands; and Portugal. If any of these member states has failed to respond to the Commission’s concerns, as set out in the Commission’s reasoned opinion, the Commission can bring the matter before the European Court of Justice.

The only member states which have so far implemented the four key directives are: Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the UK.

The European Commission further announced on 9th December 2003 that it has launched infringement proceedings against nine member states for failure to transpose the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications into national law. This Directive was adopted by the EU Parliament and Council in July 2002 and set EC-wide rules for the protection of privacy and personal data in mobile and fixed communications, including a prohibition of spam emails and the regulation of “cookies”, and establishes specific conditions for using location data generated by mobile telephones. The Directive was required to have been incorporated into national law by 31st October 2003, but by that date only six member states had taken necessary transposition measures. Accordingly, letters of formal notice have been sent by the Commission (under Article 226 EC) to Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. However, in the case of Sweden, this concerns only Article 13 of the Directive, which relates to unsolicited communications, as the rest of the Directive was covered by the Swedish transposition measures, which were duly notified to the EC on time. (See the article on Sweden’s Implementation of the Electronic Communications Directives).

Important - The information in this article is provided subject to the disclaimer. The law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly.