Discussion Papers

Wolfgang Kiesewetter

The Commission's Recommendation practice in the light of particular national circumstances - especially considering the Relevant Markets Recommendation

No. 363 / December 2011

(Full version only available in German)


The objective of the EU to strengthen the internal market also covers the markets for telecommunications. To promote this objective, the EU Commission issues recommendations which have to be taken utmost account of by Member States. The focus of this discussion paper is on the Relevant Markets Recommendation, which currently comprises 7 predefined markets susceptible to ex-ante regulation (formerly 18 markets). In addition to the Relevant Markets Recommendation, there exist further harmonization recommendations to ensure a greater consistency in regulatory measures (remedies) between Member States (termination rates, accounting separation and cost accounting systems, and access to NGA networks). Two more harmonization recommendations are planned regarding non-discrimination and costing methodology for key access products. 

All the recommendations have in common that they specify regulatory approaches that should be applied by EU Member States to achieve a higher degree of harmonization and consistency. However, observing the competitive conditions in the Member States, there are some significant differences. Due to different competitive situations, deviations from EU recommendations may be required. 

The focus of this discussion paper is the Relevant Markets Recommendation. First the Recommendation is briefly introduced and the Article 7 process is sketched. Cases where national regulatory authorities have deviated from the Recommendation, for the purpose of deregulating markets, are presented. Conclusions on the advantages and disadvantages of national differentiation versus harmonization are provided at the end.

Discussion Paper is available for download.

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