Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2012-05-09-Speech-3-052-000"

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"Mr President, Mr Schuman would be proud of this institution, together with the Council and the Commission, delivering results that can be recognised by the citizens. I hope with all those we can enjoy a success like the one we are celebrating today. This is a stimulus to do a lot more for the consumer. What does this mean for a family for example? A family will save over EUR 200 on their summer holiday compared with 2007 prices. This summer holiday, a business person will save more than EUR 1 000 per year. Data prices are kept for the first time so that you can use your maps, Facebook and videos at a fair price. Overall, there is a saving of 75% compared with 2007. Yes, you heard that right – a 75% saving. Price caps will be in place until 2017 and there will be full competition from 2014, when choosing a roaming plan will be like choosing a wi-fi network. This is the proof that the EU is good for citizens. We are putting money back in your pocket and making markets work fairly. This is also good for businesses because it lowers costs. For the mobile operators, the better prices will attract new customers and grow the market. We have ended the rip-off once and for all. I want to start by paying tribute to Angelika Niebler, who has done an extremely good job with her team-mates. The Danish Presidency took everything into account to fulfil what we had in mind, delivering results before the conclusion of their very fruitful Presidency. It is perhaps one of those examples in which we can prove that together, and in a European context, in a digital single market we can make it easier for citizens to travel and also take into account everything connected with travelling. With this new Roaming Regulation – and hopefully the voting tomorrow will be positive, but I am sure that will be the case – the basis of the Commission’s proposal is recognisable in this regulation. Let me remind you what is at stake. These days – as Angelika has already said – mobiles are everywhere. People expect to use their phones wherever they go, especially across internal borders, which are supposed to have disappeared. We are talking about a borderless Europe. A Europe of smartphones, data tablets and data online content means a tremendous boom in mobile data. In that context, high roaming charges are an irritant for a citizen and also an obstacle to a single market. People are fed up with nasty surprises when they open their bill. Today, we can put an end to them once and for all, for voice, text and data. We can show how the EU protects citizens’ interests. That is what Mr Schuman had in mind. The agreement we have in front of us will do this in three ways. Firstly, we now have a future-proof solution. Injecting competition into the roaming markets will mean, for the first time ever, a structural and sustainable way to protect consumers, because competition is the best guarantee of long-term low prices. Under the new rules, mobile users are empowered to pick the roaming provider right for their travel needs, separately from their domestic provider. So this is a big step forward. Companies will be able to compete through innovative services, which is also a big step forward. Secondly, also for the first time ever, we are tackling data roaming. People who want to browse abroad should not be held back by a fear of high charges. Angelika mentioned that this should be a signal for us, and what is at stake with this proposal, which will be much more acceptable. High charges are a constraint on citizens, on businesses and on economic growth. This agreement removes that constraint on all three, by capping data charges and by letting people choose their data roaming provider, perhaps just as easily as they choose a wi-fi network. Thirdly, also for the first time ever, we are extending protection beyond the EU, with better on-the-spot information and warnings about roaming charges, to avoid nasty bill surprises when you get home. We can deliver this with this agreement too. Of course, you should not see this agreement in isolation. Roaming is just one piece in a much bigger story. We are promoting competition and lower consumer prices – as we have done with mobile termination rates and continue to do in telecoms markets. We are putting Europe at the forefront of the data revolution, through access to cheap data, as we could also do with our proposals to open up public sector data – a great challenge in front of us. We are building a digital single market with consistent rules so that Europeans can easily enjoy great content, wherever they are and whatever device they are using – as we will be doing through our proposals on the cloud, data protection, e-ID and many more."@en1

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