European Union ministers have decided against giving the European Commission the power to overturn decisions made by national telco regulators, such as Oftel.

Fears of diminished autonomy for the telco watchdogs led the 15 member states to vote against the EC proposal, according to a spokesman for the Dutch delegation.

The EC was seeking the power to suspend decisions by national bodies to ensure European law is followed. The Council of Transport and Communications ministers, in a meeting last week in Luxembourg, decided instead to give the EC a two-month period to object to rulings by regulators.

The decision is a disappointment to the EC, which has now set its sights on the European Parliament to amend the proposals. Businesses sided with the EC as they strive for a more coherent European regulatory framework.

The EC proposals will now go back to the parliament for a second reading, after which the Council will discuss them again in June.