Telecoms: Portugal referred to the European Court of Justice over selection of companies providing universal service
The European Commission has referred Portugal to the European Court of Justice for failure to designate the companies responsible for providing basic telecoms services through an open selection procedure from which no company is excluded beforehand – as required under the EU telecoms rules. Services such as the provision of a connection to a telephone network and public payphones are considered by EU law to be a safety net for achieving social inclusion. Under EU telecoms rules, all interested companies should have a chance to be designated for the provision of those basic telecoms services in order to ensure fair competition. The Commission launched an infringement procedure against Portugal in 2005. In 2007, Portugal responded with a timetable for the launch of a tender to designate its universal service providers, but this has not been respected. The Commission today moved the procedure to the Court of Justice.