MPs okay electronic communications bill at first reading

Ljubljana – The National Assembly passed a new bill on electronic communications at first reading on Friday. As the opposition-sponsored bill is nearly identical to the one voted down twice by the previous National Assembly, the coalition has expressed intention to change the contentious provisions before passing the bill.

The bill was rejected in the past due to provisions allowing exclusion of some producers from Slovenia’s market, with the debates in the past and today naming Huawei, and allowing encroachment on the independence of the Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS).

The government and coalition welcomed changes which will benefit many users, and will finally transpose relevant EU legislation. The bill entails the establishment of a public alert system and aims to boost the safety of electronic services, among other things.

Nevertheless, the coalition and the government intend to amend provisions stipulating that the determination of a relevant market takes into account technological characteristics of networks of varying capacities.

The Government Office for Digital Transformation said in a press release that the European Commission believed this provision to be too vague and does not lay down in what way and for what purpose technological characteristics should be taken into account.

Meanwhile, the initiators, the opposition Democrats (SDS) and New Slovenia (NSi), have expressed their unequivocal support for the bill, and warned that lobbyists for Huawei would likely start exerting pressure on decision makers in the coming months.

The National Assembly threw out a number of opposition-sponsored bills today, which had been filed immediately after the new National Assembly was sworn in in May.

Of more than two dozen opposition-sponsored bills, only four were approved for second reading. Apart from the electronic communications bill, the MPs backed a bill on scientific, expert and artistic titles, the bill on the NEK nuclear power plant decommissioning fund, and the bill on the fiscal rule, largely because they transpose EU legislation.