[baltic-review] On May 31, the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council of the European Union unanimously confirmed that Rīga, capital city of Latvia, will be a home for the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) Office. This is the first EU institution to be set up in Latvia. It is planned that the Office will begin its work in Rīga already this year.
BEREC will now replace the European Regulators Group, the group through which National Regulatory Authorities exchange expertise and best practice and gave opinions on the functioning of the telecoms market in the EU.
Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Digital Agenda, said: “This decision is an important step towards our common aim to establish a single telecommunication services market. The specific knowledge of BEREC will help to implement the European Digital Agenda and eliminate remaining obstacles for cross-border telecommunication services for European businesses and citizens.”
Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis enthusiastically welcomed the decision: “This entirely positive decision was taken thanks to three months of intensive and professional expert consultation work by the Transport Ministry, Prime Minister’s Office, and Foreign Affairs Ministry. This is an example of successful lobbying.” He added that the BEREC Office will strengthen Latvia’s image and will attract international experts and regular guests to Rīga.
Transport Minister Kaspars Gerhards, who presented Latvia’s offer at the Council meeting, pointed out: “For the first time an EU level institution will be set up in Latvia, bringing not only new work places, and wider recognition in Europe, but also the opportunity to show what we can do.”
The rationale for enabling Latvia to host the BEREC Office goes beyond a “gentleman’s agreement” that encourages the distribution of EU agencies and institutions in new member states. The Latvian government argued that it was simply good business. The inclusion of Rīga in the EU administrative network expands the positive visibility of EU structures, programs and policies throughout a region that is growing in importance and potential. It broadens the EU’s resource-base, deepens local commitments and enlarges the reach and influence of EU policies.
The choice Rīga Riga as the site of BEREC’s secretariat will bring a number of benefits to Latvia and reinforces local efforts to promote the largest city in the Baltic States as a centralized location for regional conferences and meetings. It also underlines the growing role of the Rīga International Airport as a major regional transportation hub.
Riga Will Host the New EU BEREC Office