On 14th May 2019, the Meeting of Heads of the Eastern Partnership Electronic Communications Regulators Network (hereinafter – EaPeReg), and on 15th May 2019, the 13th EaPeReg Plenary Meeting were held in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The events were organized by the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) in the capacity of the EaPeReg Chair for 2019 and the hosting party, with the support of the European Commission.
The events took place with the participation of the heads, chairmen and representatives of the national regulatory authorities (NRAs) for electronic communications of the six Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, EU Member States, in particular: the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Croatia and the Kingdom of Sweden, as well as experts of the EU4Digital Project (E&Y) and the World Bank. The special invitees to the event were Mr. Jeremy Godfrey, BEREC Chair for 2019, and Mr. Tom Boyce, the Head of the BEREC Contact Network for 2019.
This year, initiated by EaPeReg Chair for 2019 and the President of the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE), the Meeting of Heads of the Electronic Communications Regulators of the EaPeReg Member states (hereinafter – the Meeting).
The main objective of the Meeting was to discuss issues related to the further development of EaPeReg, its areas of activities within the framework of the EU4Digital Project and the need to implement certain organizational changes/rules aimed at achieving the necessary results and progress in the implementation of the tasks for the EaP countries identified by “20 Deliverables by 2020”.
According to the Meeting’s agenda, Liliia Malon, the Head of the International Affairs and European Integration Division of the NCCIR and the Chair of the Roaming Expert Working Group (REWG) presented EaPeReg’s organizational structure, key achievements and aspects of its activities to date and in terms of participation in the EU4Digital Project, as well as suggested a number of proposals regarding the format in which EaPeReg should continue to operate and a list of rules for cooperation both in the framework of the EU4Digital Project and in general. These proposals were unanimously supported by the Heads. In addition, in his speech, Mr. Marcin Cichy, President of UKE, also highlighted the UKE’s capabilities that could be used to strengthen EaPeReg’s activities in 2020.
The Heads of the NRAs noted the important role of EaPeReg for the purpose of the practical integration of the EaP countries into the EU Digital Single Market and the need for an adequate level of representation and participation in its activities, as well as participated in the round table on the expectations regarding cooperation in 2020 and beyond.
The main objective of the 13th Plenary Meeting was to discuss the current EaPeReg activities, future plans, new development initiatives for EaPeReg, the nomination of the EaPeReg Chair and Vice-Chair for 2020.
During the 13th Plenary Meeting the participants discussed the following issues:
- EaPeReg activities in 2019 and the main plans, including participation in the joint BEREC Summit scheduled for autumn, and the need to extend the validity of the Memorandum of Understanding between EaPeReg and BEREC. BEREC Chairman emphasized the interest in strengthening cooperation with EaPeReg in the future;
- the main outcomes of the 4th EaP Panel on Harmonization of Digital Market and the 3rd EaP Ministerial Meeting on Digital Economy (February 2019) and their impact on EaPeReg, presented by Liliia Malon;
- the main plans and objectives of the EU4Digital Project and the organizational aspects of EaPeReg participation therein;
- Chairs of the EaPeReg’s expert working groups (REWG, SEWG and BBEWG (IRB EWG) presented the reports on the progress achieved and plans for 2019, as well as on the achievements of the objectives of the EU4Digital Project;
- new initiatives for EaPeReg’s further development, etc.
In addition to the abovementioned: UKE and the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan were nominated for the EaPeReg Chair and Vice-Chair for 2020; it was also agreed that the next – the 14th EaPeReg Plenary Meeting would be held in Riga (Latvia) in November 2019; the experience of Georgia regarding the joint Broadband development project with the World Bank was presented.
The participation of NCCIR’s delegation, headed by the Chairman of the NCCIR, Alexander Zhyvotovsky, in the Meeting and the 13th EaPeReg Plenary Meeting is important not only in view of the strengthening of Ukraine’s position in the region and a key role in a number of initiatives within the Eastern Partnership Initiative, but also given the implementation of practical projects for the development of the electronic communications sector and the harmonization of digital markets with the EU. At the same time, the level of discussions that took place during the events once again demonstrated strong positions and a significant contribution by the NCCIR to the development and effective operation of EaPeReg.