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Reding Rattles Regulatory Saber

European Commissioner Viviane Reding is not a woman to rest on her laurels.

Having shaken up the European mobile industry by driving through regulation that imposes caps on roaming charges, Reding is now turning her attention to broader telecom regulation issues. (See EU Adds Mobile Law and EC Welcomes Roaming Caps.)

Reding is flirting with the idea of a centralized telecom regulator that would sit in the corridors of the European Commission 's headquarters in Brussels and impose its will across all of the European Union's 27 member states.

Not surprisingly, such a proposition is less than welcome among Europe's regulatory fraternity, though the idea does reportedly have its supporters in high places. (See Watchdog Dreaming.)

Reding is expected to announce her proposals for overhauling Europe's telecom regulations this October, and the big political battleground will be the issue of centralized regulatory power.

But while the creation of a potential "super regulator" is likely to grab the headlines, it seems Reding's main aim is the extension of existing powers.

Greater veto power
The latest indications from the EC show that Reding will try to extend the Commission's veto power over national regulators' decisions, and, more controversially, may even propose a new European regulatory body.

In a speech last month, Reding referred to the possibility of creating a "one-stop shop," called the "European Networks Agency," for cross border issues.

In a report published last week, the EC signaled its intent to have a greater say over national regulatory decisions on remedies. (See EC Reports on Regulation.)

Remedies are what national regulators impose on operators that have significant market power. Such actions include accounting separation and wholesale product obligations.

Currently, the EC can only comment on these actions, but in a supporting document to the report, the Commission proposes that its veto powers be extended to include remedies. (See EC Reports on Regulation.)

The European Regulators Group (ERG) , which comprises representatives from the Commission and each of the 27 national regulators, is opposed to the Commission getting veto power over remedies.

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