Mizzi calls for lower international phone calls charge

Labour MEP: Roaming was a great political victory but it’s time to move towards a single telecoms market for European consumers

Rates for international calls are still “exorbitantly high” for many consumers, according to Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi who is calling for lower phone bills.

On Monday, the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) voted to lower charges on international phone calls and text messages, as part of a draft telecoms bill.

Mizzi, S&D shadow rapporteur, said that committee had now agreed to cheaper charges for calls and text messages from one EU country to another, which would be equalised to national calls.”

“Rates for international calls are still shockingly high for many consumers. People should not be overcharged with excessive prices when calling or texting foreign numbers. Roaming was a great political victory but we now need a single telecoms market for European consumers,” she said.

Mizzi described the vote as being an important political step in bridging the price gap between national and international calls. The next step is for the European Parliament to enter into negotiations with the Member States.

“I only hope that, after the success of abolishing roaming changes, member states will see the benefits of this proposal for European citizens and support our position,” Mizzi added.

The telecoms bill voted on Monday also includes important provisions in strengthening consumer’s rights in the telecom sector, improving conditions for people with disabilities, providing basic and affordable internet as a universal right to all and, last but not least, refining the existing emergency numbers 112 and 116 on missing children.

“As part of the telecom legislation, for a first time, we voted upon and agreed on creating a compulsory public warning system in each of the EU countries. The system will allow member states to provide direct information to a maximum of people present in a danger zone (terrorist attack, natural catastrophe) through the 112 emergency services number. Member states will inform citizens through their mobile phones of what is happening and how to stay safe.”

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