Approximation to the European regulatory framework in the electronic communications  has been the primary goal of the EMERG since its establishment in 2008. To this aim, the European Union has supported its activities and sponsored them to enable the participation of the experts from the Southern-Mediterranean Countries, within the ideals and the principles of the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation set out in the Barcelona Declaration of November 28, 1995.

The EMERG Plenary 2019 decided to set up a specific expert working group, chaired by CRA Bosnia and Herzegovina, so to track all the progress made by the EMERG members, in particular South-Mediterranean countries, in this direction.

The purpose of this report is to critically examine and evaluate the progress regarding the electronic communications sector of EMERG member states, in particular the rapprochement of non-EU countries with the EU members. The report maps the progress achieved in the convergence of the telecommunications frameworks as well as comparison of trends and state of regulatory achievement between EU and non EU countries. The special focus is put on the level of approximation achieved within the period of the last three to four years. In the last several years, steps have been taken to approximate EU standards and regulations in certain areas. For the purpose of this report, EMERG conducted a small survey focusing on the most important projects and trends that the regulators have been facing over the past 5 years.

The Report is structured in the following way:

Chapter 1 Introduction;

Chapter 2 presents the development of the EMERG countries in terms of institutional aspects;

Chapter 3 focuses on regulatory developments and measures that have been undertaken by members to achieve rapprochement,

Chapter 4 shows how countries have developed in terms of market parameters; in that regard it is also important to show where discrepancies are persisting, and the reasons behind these differences. Chapter 5 summarizes the findings and evaluates the recommendations made during the EMERG workshops in recent years.

Background

The European Mediterranean Regulators Group (EMERG) was established on July 1st, 2008 in Malta, as an independent platform of National Regulatory Authorities for Electronic Communications Networks and Services.

EMERG is open to any National Regulatory Authority (NRA) concerned with the electronic communications sector that is member of or observer in the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) or party to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership launched within the framework of the Barcelona Declaration of November 28, 1995 and/or to the ENP-South countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Currently, EMERG is integrated by the NRAs of 23 countries: Algeria, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, State of Palestine, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.

 

Since its founding in 2008 EMERG has been funded by the European Commission through NATP I-IV program. The last project, in combination with funding from the Commission, ran from 2016 to 2020, and over the last two years EMERG explored several options to ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform in case the Commission were to exclude further funding.

At Rome plenary meeting in 2017, EMERG started discussing on the future sustainability, investigating different options at stake, following a survey circulated on the benefits perceived by the Members over the years. The result showed that “best practice”, “cooperation” and “networking” were considered the most important.

In 2019, the EMERG plenary decided to give to the EMERG Sustainability working group, chaired by NTRA Egypt, as main task, to prepare a report summarising the various options, the associated conditions and their advantages and disadvantages for the EMERG future sustainability.

However, as main outcome of the Report, it is clear that EMERG needs the support of a third-party funding, preferably the European Union, considering the work done by the South-Mediterranean countries and their progress towards the approximation to the EU regulatory framework.

Background

The European Mediterranean Regulators Group (EMERG) was established on July 1st, 2008 in Malta, as an independent platform of National Regulatory Authorities for Electronic Communications Networks and Services.

EMERG is open to any National Regulatory Authority (NRA) concerned with the electronic communications sector that is member of or observer in the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) or party to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership launched within the framework of the Barcelona Declaration of November 28, 1995 and/or to the ENP-South countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Currently, EMERG is integrated by the NRAs of 23 countries: Algeria, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, State of Palestine, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.

The EMERG/Contact network meeting is the preparatory meeting for the EMERG Activities for 2020.

According to the EMERG Charter, the Members have to discuss the following issues:

  • Discuss the yearly Benchmarking Report, and approve the draft to be presented to the Plenary Assembly;
  • Assess the implementation of the Work-plan and the recommendations and decisions adopted by the Plenary Assembly;
  • Ensure and plan the follow-up of these recommendations and decisions;
  • Discuss the tasks and rules of procedures of the Secretariat and propose modifications to the Plenary Assembly whenever necessary;
  • Follow up on the development, enhancement, and efficient utilization of EMERG website;
  • Study the issues of common interest likely to be the object of debates and discussions during the Plenary Assembly;
  • Propose any document to be approved and/or published to the Plenary Assembly;
  • Propose a draft agenda for the following Plenary Assembly.

 EMERG Members considered the proposals for the work plan 2020 and collected volunteers for hosting the workshops and for chairing them as rapporteur.

Furthermore, the EMERG CN called for volunteers to serve as EMERG Chair in 2021. At the same time, EMERG CN opened the same call for Members of the Permanent Secretariat, considering that CRA (Bosnia and Herzegovina), as outgoing Chair, and MTIT (Palestine) as Chair 2020 are part of it.

2019 was a very fruitful year for EMERG and during the CN three reports, drafted by the competent expert working groups in cooperation with the consultants, namely:

-EMERG Report on International Roaming (International Roaming EWG chaired by MOC Israel)

-EMERG Report on Sustainability (Sustainability EWG chaired by NTRA Egypt)

-EMERG Report on Approximation to the EU Framework (Approximation EWG Chaired by CRA Bosnia and Herzegovina)

 

 

The new role of regulators in the era of the new ecosystem of telecommunications and the new challenges of telecom regulation

Rapid technological change that we have been witnessing over the years have significantly influenced the way we live, work and interrelate. Digital transformation brings new opportunities for citizens and industries, but also new challenges for the operators and regulators. Telecom industry is at the center of the technological revolution led by the use of the emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, new “over-the-top” operators, Robotics and Blockchain.

The role of NRAs is becoming complicated in increasingly complex Telco sector where the boundaries between industries are blurring. Communication services are becoming a core product of many non-Telco industries and thus the regulatory area of responsibility becomes unclear.

It is becoming more and more obvious that modern ICT services are forcing NRAs to co-operate with other national and international public Regulatory Authorities.

The aim of this workshop is to discuss the regulatory aspects related to the new telecom ecosystem that rise from innovative technologies such as IoT, OTT, AI. The main question is what will the future role of NRA imply in expending a pure regulatory task to digital industries? The Workshop should also provide an overview of structural and organizational requirements that stand in front of NRAs in order to meet new challenges and define necessary improvements in terms of human capital, new work processes and know-how.

Programme

The new role of regulators: Example IoT ecosystem”, Dr. Arnulf Heuermann, DETECON

OTT Multimedia Services, Vesna Gaspar, HAKOM Croatia

The governance of networks, Stefano Lucidi, WIK

RPA and Intelligent Automation Roadmap, the power of the future vision and the cognitive vision sensing for data pattern, Eman Roshdy, NTRA Egypt

On 26-27 November 2019 an EMERG delegation participated to two events of the Eastern partnership network (EaPeReg) in Riga (Latvia). The first day meeting was about International Roaming, a strategic topic for both platforms, in the view of possible regional agreements as it was for the Western Balkans countries; the second day meeting was the EaPeReg Plenary, where EMERG introduced itself and confirmed the intention to cooperate with the Eastern partnership network for the future. Consequently, other opportunities will be planned to continue on this path, since both networks and the European Commission, considered them valuable and of mutual benefit.

The first time EMERG met EaPeReg representatives was during the Summit with BEREC and Regulatel which took place in Crete (Greece) last October. In that occasion, EMERG and EaPeReg agreed to strengthen cooperation between the two regional platforms and to share experience and achievements in the fields of common interest such as International Roaming.

Alongside the participation to the EaPeReg events, the EMERG took the opportunity to visit the BEREC Office (the European agency which is supporting  BEREC), whose premises is in Riga: the BEREC Office Director, László Ignéczi, presented the Agency, its organisation, mission and goals, while EMERG gave a short overview on the regional cooperation among its members, focusing on its mandate in term of approximation to the European regulatory framework. To this aim, it was also recalled the Memorandum of Understanding with BEREC signed in 2017.

The EMERG delegation was composed of Natasa Kuzmanovic (CRA Bosnia and Herzegovina, EMERG Chair 2019), Mahmoud Hatem (NTRA Egypt, EMERG outgoing Chair), Michal Vizan (MOC Israel, Roaming EWG Chair), Paola Calestani (AGCOM Italy, EMERG Communication Officer).

EaP credits