Thursday, January 29, 2009

EU starts action against Romanian telecoms law

BRUSSELS, Jan 29 (Reuters) - The European Commission said on Thursday it had launched legal action against Romania for "interfering" with the independence of the national telecom regulator.

"The Romanian government's decision in 2008 first to remove the president of the national telecoms regulator and then, after a court ruling suspending this decision, to restructure and rename this authority represents ... a serious violation of the regulator's independence," the Commission said in a statement.

The three-stage legal action will end up in the European Court of Justice unless Romania amends its "illegal" telecoms legislation to ensure regulatory independence.

"Independent national regulators are the backbone of the EU telecoms rules and are therefore central to fair regulation in Europe's single telecoms market," EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding said.

The European court can force Romania to change the law if it finds in favour of the Commission, executive arm of the 27-country European Union. (Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Dale Hudson)

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