European Union states gave the green light on Wednesday to a sweeping reform of the telecoms sector after accepting a last-minute deal to resolve a spat over Internet access, the Czech EU presidency said.
Ambassadors from EU member states met to endorse a draft deal reached in negotiations on the reform with the European Parliament, which has joint say.
The Czech presidency has brought the member states to an agreement with parliament and now it's up to parliament to confirm the agreement in plenary next week, a spokesman for the presidency said.
The success of negotiations is ever more important because of the economic downturn, the presidency said.
The battle over handling copyright abuse emerged as a final sticking point between EU states and parliament on the reform that aims to increase competition in the sector and bring down tariffs for customers.
The informal compromise... will now be tabled to a second-reading plenary vote during parliament's 4-7 May session, a statement issued by parliament said.
The main planks of the reform include greater coordination of telecoms rules across the EU through a new body of supervisors.
National authorities will be able, in exceptional circumstances, to force major telecoms operators to separate the day-to-day running of their networks from services in a bid to increase competition.
(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Dale Hudson and David Cowell)