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EU leaders seek accord on regulating roaming prices by end June

European Union leaders agreed that a regulation to force mobile-phone operators such as Vodafone Group Plc to cut prices for international mobile-telephone calls should be adopted by the end of June.

The European Commission, the 27-nation EU's executive arm, has proposed price caps on wholesale and retail roaming fees. The proposal follows years of warnings by Viviane Reding, the EU telecommunications commissioner, that mobile-phone operators overcharged customers.

The legislation must be approved by European governments and the parliament. „Every effort should be made to successfully conclude the legislative process on the reduction of roaming tariffs by the end of the first half of 2007,” the heads of government said in their final statement today after a two-day summit on energy policy.

The European Parliament plans to vote on the measure in May. EU telecommunication ministers will meet next week in Hanover, Germany, to discuss the proposal. In December, they endorsed the regulation's broad outlines. They still need to decide on specific tariff levels for wholesale and retail fees. (Bloomberg)