GSMA and ETNO call on Ministers to support connectivity as a key enabler of EU competitiveness

Brussels, 21 May 2024 – This week, the Council of the European Union hosts two important meetings gathering European ministers. Today, the Telecommunications Council discusses digital legislation adopted during the current European Commission mandate as well as future policies. On Friday 24, the Competitiveness Council will discuss the High-Level Single Market Report by Enrico Letta as well as the future of EU industrial policy.

The digitalization of the European economy will play a major role in both discussions, with specific attention to the role of connectivity in empowering citizens, boosting sustainable growth and ensuring the competitiveness of the EU economy.

We call on Ministers to take further concrete steps in order to ensure that the European Council conclusions of 18 April 2024 turn into swift and concrete policy action. Heads of State and Government explicitly called for “supporting the digital transformation of business, government and society, which requires a true Single Market in digital services and data, encouraging and facilitating investment in digital infrastructure like 5G and 6G”.

In this context, we re-iterate our support for Enrico Letta’s Report “Much more than a market”, in which he underlines that “a healthy and secure electronic communications sector is crucial for the green transition, innovation, and resilience of the Union”. Mr. Letta proposes a series of actions to complete the telecom single market in Europe and to build the required scale, so that we allow European connectivity players to become competitive globally.

We encourage the upcoming Hungarian Presidency of the EU to continue the dialogue. Timely policy action requires supporting the European Commission in their concrete follow-up to the White Paper on “How to master Europe’s digital infrastructure needs?”.

The time for building European leadership over the fast-evolving connectivity value chain is now. As outlined in a recent joint statement by tech heavyweights and in a joint vision paper by telecom vendors, the European connectivity ecosystem requires urgent action. Boosting investment, achieving adequate scale and simplifying outdated regulation are all necessary and urgent steps if we are to make the Continent more competitive, secure and resilient to the benefit of European citizens.