The Commission has decided today to request Belgium to adapt Belgian rules regarding the independence of the Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications (BIPT) – the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) – to ensure their compliance with EU telecoms legislation. Under current Belgian rules the Belgian Council of Ministers has the power to suspend and amend some of BIPT’s decisions. Moreover, the BIPT strategic work plan for 3 years has to be approved by the Belgian Council of Ministers. In the Commission’s view the rules under which the Belgian Council of Ministers can intervene in the decisions or plans of the BIPT are in breach with the NRAs independence as required in Article 3(3)a and 4 of the Framework Directive, which protects the independence of the NRA responsible for market regulation and dispute resolution, as regards all telecoms tasks with which it is entrusted.
The request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. Independence of NRAs is a corner stone of the European Electronic Communications Regulatory Framework, leading to competitive markets to the benefit of the consumers, and to ensure the stability of their actions and the predictability of their decisions for the rest of the sector.