Roaming deal must be in place for summer holidays demand Conservatives

Brussels, 15 May 2007 — After tough negotiations the EU has today agreed formal caps for mobile phone charges on international calls. Conservatives are now pressing Parliament to pass the law before the summer holidays to maximise the benefits for British mobile phone users, says Sir Robert Atkins MEP, the party’s Deputy Leader in brussels.

His call follows the announcement this afternoon on the roaming regulation compromise, which would see prices for making calls while abroad capped at 0,49€ (34 pence) per minute in the first year, 0,46€ (31 pence) in the second and 0,43€ (29 pence) in the third. Price caps for receiving calls would be set at 0,24€ (16 pence) in the first year, 0,22€ (15 pence) in the second and 0,19€ (13 pence) in the third.

Sir Robert says: “I am delighted that this proposal will protect innocent consumers going on holiday in parts of Europe from receiving a nasty surprise in the form of their mobile phone bill on their return.

“We have all had to make compromises in bringing this proposal to the table. I would like there to be no charges for receiving calls while abroad and my amendment calling for a warning icon informing people of the charges before they make or receive a call appears to have disappeared from the text. But we all have to make sacrifices for the overall good.

“If we do not agree on this package in Strasbourg next week, then we will be forced into a second reading and the whole process will take much longer. Conservatives will support this package as a reasonable compromise and I hope all other groups and Member States will follow.”

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