Ukraine is one step closer to the EU’s free roaming area, as the European Commission adopted a proposal to incorporate roaming into the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement on 14 February 2023. Once in place, Ukrainian visitors will no longer have to pay any additional charges to use their mobile phones when travelling in the EU, while travellers from the EU will benefit from the same rights when visiting Ukraine.
Bringing Ukraine into the EU free roaming area is one of the key actions of the revised Priority Action Plan. This plan is the roadmap for the full implementation of the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) and Ukraine’s further integration into the EU Single Market.
This is the first instance of an extension of EU internal market treatment to Ukraine. This step follows the announcement of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her 2022 State of the Union Address, to bring Ukraine into the free roaming area. It also follows the Commission’s engagement with EU and Ukrainian operators with a view to put in place voluntary measures to allow affordable or free calls between the EU and Ukraine. At the moment, EU and Ukrainian telecom operators offer affordable or free calls between the EU and Ukraine, on a voluntary basis. Thanks to this arrangement, around 4 million people fleeing the war have affordable connectivity while they seek shelter in the EU. The voluntary measures were recently extended by six months and the new arrangement now also covers calls to fixed line numbers in Ukraine as well as new types of operators.
The proposal to incorporate roaming into the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement will now be considered by the Council of the European Union. Following the Council’s agreement, a Joint Decision will need to be taken by the EU-Ukraine Trade Committee to grant mutual internal market treatment for roaming.
The pace at which Ukraine will be integrated in the EU internal market for roaming will depend on the pace of approximation and implementation of relevant EU legislation in Ukraine.
See the full story, including background, links and quotes, on the DG NEAR website, plus:
- Commission proposal to incorporate roaming into the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement
- EU-Ukraine: Standing together
- Revised Priority Action Plan – Infographic ‘Enhancing Ukraine’s access to the Single Market’ (pdf download)
- The EU4Digital message on the situation in Ukraine.