European Scrutiny Committee

News Release PN 6, Session 2006-07

22nd February 2007


Margaret Hodge MP (Minister of State for Industry and the Regions at the Department of Trade and Industry) will be laying out the UK's position on the latest European Council proposal to reduce costly mobile phone "roaming" charges when she gives evidence to the European Scrutiny Select Committee on 28 February.

Currently the subscriber pays both to make and receive calls when "roaming". The level of these charges has been identified as a persistent problem by consumer organisations, regulators, policy makers and legislators across the European Community.

Some mobile phone operators have announced plans to reduce their prices but there has been no general industry response to the situation. For this reason the European Commission have produced a Draft Council Regulation which includes "caps" on both the wholesale charges that operators charge each other and the retail prices that customers pay.

Ms Hodge will be questioned about the UK position on the draft proposals as well as changes that the government and the French authorities have jointly suggested.

The draft proposal is also being considered by the European Parliament. The expectation is that agreement will be sought within the Council and with the Parliament before the end of the current EU Presidency.

The session will be held on Wednesday 28 February at 1430 in Committee Room 16.

Note for Editors

The European Scrutiny Committee reports to the House on the legal and political importance of each EU document and recommends EU documents for debate. Such debates take place either in a European Standing Committee or on the Floor of the House. The Committee normally reports weekly on a range of documents when the House is sitting.

The Committee has 16 Members, as follows: Michael Connarty MP (Chairman), Labour, Richard Bacon MP, Conservative, David Borrow MP, Labour, William Cash MP, Conservative, James Clappison MP, Conservative, Katy Clark MP, Labour, Wayne David MP, Labour, Jim Dobbin MP, Labour/Co-op, Nia Griffith MP, Labour, David Hamilton MP, Labour, David Heathcoat-Amory MP, Conservative, Jimmy Hood MP, Labour , Lindsay Hoyle MP, Labour, Angus Robertson MP, SNP, Anthony Steen MP, Conservative, Richard Younger Ross MP, Lib Dem

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