As the European Parliament (EP) began debate on policy reforms that envision the establishment of a new pan- European telecom regulator, European Commission (EC) Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding challenged EP members in a speech to “get rid of the barriers that lead to fragmentation and loss of economic and social efficiency.” Proposed by the EC last year, the creation of the new European Telecoms Market Authority (ETMA) is intended to streamline regulation and the coordination of spectrum throughout the European Union (EU). Among other things, the reform package before the EP would also give regulators in each of the 27 EU member states the authority to impose “functional separation” between incumbent carriers’ retail and wholesale operations. Last July, two EP committees approved amendments to the reform package, and the EP is expected to vote on the amended package on September 23. If adopted, final legislative texts could be in place by the end of this year, with implementation of the new regulatory framework to follow by 2010. Explaining that the reform effort is “about equipping the EU with an efficient, competitive single market that brings economies of scale not just to the electronic communications sector, but also to the citizens and . . . the economy at large,” Reding told EP members: “we have to make sure that our regulatory system will facilitate and not hinder investments in next generation networks, so that Europe remains competitive in the twenty-first century.”