Brian Hayes MEP

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The Irish Government should play a leading role in abolishing roaming charges – Hayes

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Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg today (Thursday), Dublin MEP Brian Hayes said that the Irish government needs to be a leading voice within the EU Council to abolish roaming charges.

“This issue is now deadlocked between the EU Council and European Parliament. On average we in Ireland do more transactions using our mobile phone than any other EU Member State. We need to be a leader and not follower in this debate.”

“Last year the European Parliament overwhelmingly voted to abolish roaming charges at the end of 2015. However, the European Council – made up EU Communication Ministers – wants the abolition delayed for a further 3 years. I don’t see any reason, other than satisfying the wishes of big business, why the EU Council would want to delay this decision.”

“The decision by the EU Council has effectively led to a stalemate. Negotiations have failed to reach any compromise with the proposals from the Council being rejected by MEPs. Tomorrow (Friday) EU Communication Ministers from across Europe will meet in Brussels. I believe it is essential that each Member State outlines their position including the Irish government.”

“This is an issue that is pro EU citizens and pro-consumer. Every year €1.6 billion is spent on roaming charges within the EU. The abolition of roaming charges is not a new issue. It has been on the cards since 2007. EU citizens have been faced with excessive mobile phone charges for too long. If the EU is serious about developing a single digital market for Europe a decision must be made now on roaming charge abolition,” concluded Mr Hayes.

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