epraeu[source: EPRA website] Strengthening the cooperation between regulatory authorities in the field of broadcasting in the EU has been a recurring motive in recent policy recommendations. On 3 February 2014, the European Commission adopted a formal Decision establishing a group of national regulators in the broadcasting area: “the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services”.

To some extent, the Decision thus formalises the Group of European Regulators which has been meeting informally on an annual basis at the invitation of the European Commission since 2003. The main objectives for the Group are as follows:

  1. to advise and assist the Commission in its work, to ensure a consistent implementation of the AVMSD as well as in any other matters related to audiovisual media services within the Commission’s competence.
  2. to facilitate cooperation between the regulatory bodies in the EU, as provided for in the directive regulating audiovisual media services.
  3. to allow for an exchange of experience and good practices.

Coexistence and complementarity with other networks

The formal group of EU Regulatory Authorities in the field of Audiovisual Media Services will coexist with other cooperation networks whose objectives and mode of functioning are complementary, the largest of them being the EPRA.

  • EPRA will retain its specificity and added-value as an informal and independent platform for cooperation with its unique geographical coverage and practical and pragmatic orientation.
  • The regulators’ group is planning to hold its meetings mainly in Brussels, where they will be hosted by the European Commission, whereas EPRA meetings will continue to be organised by NRAs on a rotating and voluntary basis.
  • The level of representation of the new group will be high/executive level, whereas EPRA remains flexible about the composition of the delegations.
  • The new group will have strategic EU policy-oriented discussions and intends to adopt common positions or declarations on the implementation of the audiovisual EU regulatory framework, whereas EPRA will continue holding practically-oriented exchanges of experiences and identifying best practices on media regulation in Europe. EPRA’s engagement with stakeholders will also remain informal.

EPRA Chairman Jean Francois Furnémont has welcomed the wish to reinforce the cooperation between European counterparts as expressed by the creation of this formal group and emphasized the numerous ways in which both networks may complement each other.