In line with the European Council conclusions of 19 October, the Council held a policy debate on speeding up work on the digital single market to ensure its completion by the end of 2018. “EU leaders last week said that they were ready to do what it takes for Europe to go digital,” said Urve Palo, Estonia’s Minister for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology and chair of today’s meeting. “The telecommunications ministers’ debate today echoes this. In the area of telecommunications, the European Council has set specific deadlines for three key dossiers that are being negotiated: cross-border parcel delivery services, the free flow of data and the Electronic Communications Code. Our discussion today is a sign of ministers’ strong commitment to delivering on these objectives.”
Ministers also held a policy debate on the EU’s response to the crucial challenge of cybersecurity. Work in this area is focused on the cybersecurity package recently presented by the Commission, which includes proposals to create a fully fledged cybersecurity agency and an EU-wide certification framework to ensure that ICT products and services are cyber secure. “A thriving digital society and economy cannot exist without reliable cybersecurity,” said Minister Palo. “The Council has already started to work on these proposals. We will also establish an action plan to ensure that the work advances in a timely and holistic manner, as called for by European leaders.”
Under any other business, the presidency provided information on the outcome of the informal lunch discussion on practical steps for achieving 5G connectivity. During lunch, ministers discussed the best way to achieve the ambition set by the European Council to make the necessary spectrum available by 2020. “We all agreed that it was imperative that we create the right conditions for the swift and extensive roll-out of 5G networks in Europe,” said Minister Palo. “We are pursuing several concrete steps. Tomorrow, the presidency will hold the first exploratory trilogue with the European Parliament on the Electronic Communications Code, and next week, telecoms directors will meet in Tallinn to look at the details of a common European timeline for 5G spectrum.”
The presidency also briefed ministers on the Tallinn ministerial declaration on e-Government adopted on 6 October and on the Eastern Partnership digital ministerial meeting held on 5 October.
In this example what is remarkable, is the way in which the ministers of each country depending on the specific topics in issue meet, the digital single market and the cybersecurity is related to telecommunications so the ministers specialized in this area are who are going to set the meetings.