A European Union-funded twinning project aimed at harmonising Israeli communications regulations with those in Europe has been successfully completed. The project, which was funded to the tune of EUR600,000 (USD753,000) by the EU, saw Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) and a consortium created by the telecommunications regulators from Germany’s Federal Network Agency (FNA), Spain’s Comision del Mercado de las Telecomunicacinoes (CMT) and Italy’s Autorita per le Garanzie Comunicazioni (Agcom) work towards fostering competition in the Israeli telecommunications markets and increasing the protection of the Israeli consumers. In the wake of the project’s closure, the head of the EU Delegation to Israel, Ambassador Andrew Standley, underlined the symbolic dimension of the project, including ‘the many tangible contributions and results of the twinning project, which contribute to the reinforcement of the regulator’s role in ensuring a smooth functioning of the communications market that achieves a high level of consumer protection’. The ambassador also suggested that in the wake of the project a national and independent regulator could soon be established by the Israeli Government, in line with the most advanced EU framework.
The project, which was entitled ‘Assist the Israeli Telecommunications regulator to establish greater approximation to the European Union regulatory approach, specifically with wholesale markets’, commenced in February 2011, and during the 16-months that it lasted EU partners sent around 50 experts to Israel. The MoC and EU experts worked on a number of topics as part of the scheme, including: pricing methodologies for technologically neutral wholesale market regulation; differences between regulatory frameworks and roadmap for desired approximation; data collection; enforcement methods and objectives; dispute resolution; consumer protection; and technical aspects of the Israeli wholesale market.