Belgium on must-carry final warning

May 7, 2008 – 12:43 BST

The European Commission has issued a final warning to Belgium over the application of must carry rules imposed on broadcasters in the capital Brussels. The action comes as the EC begins a new round of infringement proceeding for EU Telecoms Rules.

“The Belgian authorities had a great opportunity to rectify the problems when they amended the Electronic Communications Act for the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital last year. Unfortunately, they have not yet addressed our concerns,” said Viviane Reding, the EU Telecoms Commissioner.

“We are therefore now following up on the matter, particularly in view of the fact that the European Court of Justice has recently declared that such rules must be proportionate and transparent.”

Under the EU Universal Service Directive network operators are obliged to broadcast specific broadcast channels. The Commission says that despite a revision to the Electronic Communications Act in 2007, the capital’s rules still lack transparency and clarity, leaving network operators and broadcasters uncertain of their responsibilities.