Neelie Kroes calls on MEPs to kill mobile roaming costs

New onslaught on mobile phone company revenues from European Commission.

European Commissioner Neelie Kroes
European Commissioner Neelie Kroes

European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes delivered an interesting political rallying cry in front of the European Parliament (EP) this morning in an effort to abolish mobile roaming costs and safeguard citizens' right to access an 'open Internet'.

Kroes called on the EP to "join her in rushing to complete" a legislative package that she hopes will include plans to finally end mobile roaming in Europe, and guarantee net neutrality. More specifically, she hopes to get this done by Easter 2014.

The outspoken EC vice president, a strong proponent for a single ICT and telecoms market in Europe, said she will "fight with my last breath to get us there together".

She believes completing the single telecoms market could give Europe a boost of €110 billion a year.

From her speech delivered to Members of the European Parliament: "You and I share the stake in this debate, so tell me: will join me in building something special between now and the European elections?

"I want us to show citizens that the EU is relevant to their lives. That we made the digital rules catch up with their legitimate expectations. I want you to be able to go back to your constituents and say that you were able to end mobile roaming costs. I want you to be able to say that you saved their right to access the open internet, by guaranteeing net neutrality."

The telecommunications sector is squarely at the core of the European Commission's growth plan and Digital Agenda for Europe, yet fragmentation between countries still exists.

Setting up a single European telecoms market has become a top priority for Kroes, and Brussels is keen to accelerate the process to get the plan approved before the European Parliament elections slated for May 2014. "There is no other sector of our incomplete European single market where the barriers are so unneeded, and yet so high. The time for change is now."