TELECOMS LIBERALISATION : COMMISSION GETS TOUGH WITH LUXEMBOURG.

The European Commission has given Luxembourg two months to comply with an EU Court of Justice ruling on the opening of its telecommunications networks - or face possible fines. If Luxembourg fails to comply with the reasoned opinion,' sent on 8 January 2007, the Commission can go back to the Court and ask for a lump sum fine or daily penalties.

The Commission maintains that Luxembourg has failed to comply with an ECJ ruling of 12 June 2003 (Case C-97/01) declaring that the country had failed to fully transpose Directive 90/388 on competition in the telecommunications sector.

This directive made clear that member states should liberalise access to their telecommunications infrastructures by granting rights of way to new entrants to lay their own cables. The aim was to end the monopolies held in many member states by public incumbents.

The Commission put forward evidence to show that Luxembourg's law remained inadequate in that it was uncertain, the grounds for refusing a right of way to any particular company had not...

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