The establishment of a pan-European telecommunications regulator moved closer to reality on Monday, as representatives of the European Commission (EC), the European Parliament and each of the 27 member states of the European Union (EU) reached agreement on the framework and powers of the new regulatory body. The agency, to be known as the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC), was first proposed by EC Media and Information Society Commissioner Viviane Reding in 2005 and is intended to promote the development of a single, seamless EU telecom market that, in turn, would boost competition and lower prices for consumers. While negotiators declined to invest BEREC with all of the powers sought by Reding, it will share veto power with the EC over EU member state regulations that contradict EC competition rules and other EC regulations. Regulators from each of the 27 EU member states will form the BEREC board, and the EC will only be able to veto a national regulator’s decision if it obtains the consent of a majority of BEREC members. The BEREC would also be empowered to harmonize rules and regulations among EC member states in the areas of network access and pricing. The framework, which is slated to go into effect next year, is likely to be approved in May at a plenary session of the European Parliament that would also consider reforms of existing EC regulations that concern universal service, online privacy, and structural separation of dominant carriers. Predicting that Europe’s telecom regulators “will be better controlled now through their peers through the new agency,” a spokesman for the European Consumers Organization said that Monday’s agreement “will definitely have the effect of getting all 27 European regulators to move in the same direction.”