Net neutrality, the end of roaming charges, the migration divide and the 2016 agenda of the European Commission

27 October 2015 was a momentous day if you work in EU affairs. Today important decisions were taken and an interesting debate on migration took place during the European Parliament’s plenary session. These decisions will have a direct impact on European citizens’ lives or affect their lives in the short to medium term.

These decisions are:

1. The end of telephone roaming charges: roaming charges for calls from a mobile phone will cease to exist in the EU as of 15 June 2017. Consumers will pay the same price for calls, texts and mobile data wherever they are travelling in the EU. This decision seems to be widely applauded, although 21 of UKIP MEPs, including Nigel Farage, voted against the end of roaming charges in the EU (full list). Interesting to notice that no big European newspaper is mentioning it on their cover/homepage, as it had already been widely communicated to EU citizens in June this year.

Here’s a good infographic on what it means concretely:

End of roaming charges infographics

2. new rules for an open Internet: the rules enshrine the principle of net neutrality into EU law,  meaning that there will be truly common EU-wide internet rules. Whether the rules adopted actually correspond to “net neutrality” seemed to be the subject of much debate today on social networks, in particular on Twitter, where the details of the legislation were criticised on both political and technical accounts, including by the founder of the WWW Tim Berners-Lee.

Tim Berners Lee on net neutrality

3. the presentation of the European Commission’s 2016 work programme: it’s about “doing different things” and “doing things differently” and moving away from business as usual.

Here is a word cloud of the most used terms in the programme (cleaned to only display nouns).

EU debate on migration word cloud

4. growing divide among MEPs on migration, between those who support it and those who refuse it. Despite the divergences in opinion on the subject of migration itself, most MEPs and speakers agreed that the current situation had the potential to become a true geopolitical crisis reaching out far beyond Europe.

There is an excellent Storify of the debate that you can check out to learn more about what was shared by European Council President Tusk, European Commission President Juncker and several MEPs on this.

What piece of EU news captured your attention recently? Do you think EU citizens picked up on it? 

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