As of today, (15th June 2017) data roaming charges for all travellers in the European Union have been abolished, as part of the wider project to create a Digital Single Market. The European Commission has produced a couple of useful factsheets (see links at bottom of article) on what this entails. However, as this BBC article explains, customers are still liable for extra charges if they exceed their contractually agreed data usage limits.
As the BBC article also points out, once article 50 has been fully implemented, it will be the up to a future UK Government to decide as to whether the UK adopts these pricing restrictions or not.
Travelling in Europe, a leaflet published by the EU, has now been updated for 2017-18. It contains lots of useful, practical information about travelling in the EU and includes a fold-out map of the continent.
As the last step towards the end of roaming charges by 15 June 2017, representatives of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have agreed on how to set the prices operators charge each other when their customers use other networks when roaming in the EU.
3.2 cents per minute of voice call, as of 15 June 2017
1 cent per SMS, as of 15 June 2017
They also agreed to a step-by-step reduction over five years for data caps, decreasing from €7.70 per GB (as of 15 June 2017) to €6 per GB (as of 1 January 2018), €4.50 per GB (as of 1 January 2019), €3.50 per GB (as of 1 January 2020), €3 per GB (as of 1 January 2021) and €2.50 per GB (as of 1 January 2022). The agreement is the final step to making “roam-like-at-home” work as of 15 June 2017, as foreseen in the Telecom Single Market (TSM) Regulation. It means that when travelling in the EU, consumers will be able to call, send SMS or surf on their mobile at the same price they pay at home. More information is available on the Commission’s Roaming website.
Applications are now open for paid traineeships of five months’ duration starting on 1 October with the European Commission and some executive bodies and agencies of the European Institutions such as the European External Action Service or Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation. Successful applicants will receive a monthly grant of around €1,120 and reimbursement of travel expenses. Accident and health insurance can also be provided. Every year, there are about 1,300 places available, which provide selected candidates with hands-on experience in an international and multicultural environment, thus enriching their career prospects. Applications must be submitted online by noon (Brussels time), 31 January 2017.
The EU Solidarity Corps is an initiative announced by Jean Claude Junker in September’s State of the Union (SOTEU) address. He stated:
“There are many young, socially-minded people in Europe willing to make a meaningful contribution to society and help show solidarity. We can create opportunities for them to do so … Solidarity is the glue that keeps our Union together”
Young people aged between 17 and 30 are now able to register for the EU Solidarity Corps through the online portal, which is available in all official languages of the EU. Upon registering participants become eligible for invitation to join a variety of humanitarian, social and environmental projects with in the EU, ranging in length from two to twelve months.
For more information click here. There is also a useful list of FAQs for participants.
Shining Stars of Europe is a video competition for anyone who’d like to share their ideas for the future. All you need to do is submit a short video (no more than two minutes). Winning participants will get the opportunity through travel and project grants to put their ideas in to practice, so get your thinking/director caps on! The deadline for submissions is 18 September 2016. For all the information you need to get started go to the official website. In the meantime, you can have a look at last year’s winning entries below. Good luck!
A new free mobile app lets you check your rights straight away. It is available on Apple iPhone and iPad, Google Android, RIM Blackberry and Microsoft Windows Phone 7. Appropriate links for all devices can be found here.