EC launches infringement procedures over 112
The European Commission has announced that is has decided to send letters of formal notice to a number of EU countries following their failure to meet their obligations related to the Digital Single Market.
According to the Commission, Croatia, Czechia, Germany, Greece and Spain have failed to effectively implement the rules on the 112 emergency number (Directive 2002/22/EC), in particular by failing to ensure equivalent access for disabled users.
The principles behind that Directive not only require Member States to ensure that deaf and hearing-impaired citizens can easily contact emergency services, but that their location must be provided to the public safety access points (PSAPS, ie, emergency services control rooms).
The Commission also expressed concerns about how location information is provided to PSAPs in Germany and Greece. While EU legislation mandates that emergency calls be located “as soon as the call reaches” the PSAPs, Greek authorities reported that it takes more than 4 minutes on average for emergency services to obtain this information.
“In 2019, 10 years after the Universal Service Directive entered into force, it is inconceivable that people with disabilities in Greece have no means to contact the emergency services,” said Benoit Vivier of the European Emergency Number Association (EENA).
“Rapid response is crucial in times of emergency,” added Vivier. “Accurate caller location information is lifesaving and essential for emergency services to find people in danger, especially those who cannot explain where they are.”
The Member States concerned have two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a ‘reasoned opinion’ or refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU, as appropriate.
“EENA welcomes the pursuit of these infringement proceedings and congratulates the European Commission for its efforts to ensure the correct implementation of European legislation for the safety of citizens,” said Vivier.
“Once again, EENA calls on the relevant authorities in the 5 Member States concerned to take all the necessary efforts to make sure that, a decade after its entry into force, the Universal Service Directive is finally implemented.”
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