Working together: IRG and EPRA organise a joint event for their members

posted on 12 July, 2021   (public)

Online is not a sector: exploring the benefits of regulatory cooperation to address emerging digital challenges

On 9 July 2021, the Independent Regulators Group (Telecoms) and the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities (Audiovisual) organised a joint event entitled "Working together: Why does it matter?" for their respective members.

This first joint event gathered telecom and audiovisual regulatory authorities together to exchange best practices and experience of collaboration, and aimed at:

  • Exploring the opportunities of structured cooperation between regulators from adjacent sectors to tackle the challenge of digitalisation,
  • Facilitating networking between audiovisual and telecom regulators,
  • Laying the ground for more frequent inter-network IRG/EPRA interaction.

"Online is not a sector"

The webinar, which was chaired by Maria Donde, EPRA Senior Vice-Chairperson, and Rainer Schnepfleitner, IRG Vice-Chair, and moderated by Philippe Defraigne and Michèle Ledger (Cullen International), mostly focused on the practical aspects of cooperation between regulators from adjacent sectors.

Through the presentation of concrete examples in a range of countries at different stages of regulatory cooperation, it sought to analyse existing strategies and identify best practice, difficulties and key requirements to establish efficient and structured collaboration between national authorities for a future-proof regulation of the online sphere.
While follow-up events may focus more on substantial and thematic aspects of cooperation, the shared experiences illustrated some areas where reinforced collaboration can be particularly fruitful, such as joint research, access to and collection of data and the promotion of media/digital literacy.

Some key messages:

  • Online is not a sector: Reinforced cross-sectoral cooperation between regulators on the national and European level is a must considering the challenges for regulation posed by the changing online ecosystem
  • Consider the users' experience: Citizens do not see any distinction between sectors, and this points to the benefits of common research and publications and joint regulatory approaches and strategies
  • Willingness is key: There is a lot to be done on a voluntary basis
  • Institutional design: Some element of structure, such as light contracts or memorandum of understanding listing common objectives of a regulatory cooperation can be helpful. Ultimately, having dedicated staff is key to progress the cooperation
  • Multistakeholder engagement: Regulatory cooperation also greatly benefits from collaboration with a wide range of players including the industry, academia and governments.

In the first part of the event, Kate Davies (Ofcom - UK), Christophe Cousin (CSA - FR) and Antonio de Tommaso (AGCOM - IT) presented the audience with the strategy and collaborative projects their respective authorities are involved in.
In the second panel, Celene Craig (BAI - IE), Rebecca Parman (MPRT - SE) and Persa Lampropoulou (NCRT - GR) briefly shared the experience and approach to collaboration between regulators in Ireland, Sweden and Greece, including reflections on obstacles and difficulties. Pascale Raulin-Serrier, from the French data protection authority CNIL, highlighted the various cooperative and educative projects launched by regulators in France aimed at supporting the digital literacy of citizens.

The agenda of the event is available here.


  • EPRA, the European Platform of Regulatory Authorities, was set up in 1995 in response to the need for increased cooperation between audiovisual European regulatory authorities. 
  • EPRA's Mission is to provide an independent and transparent forum for its members to share relevant information, best practice, experience and expertise and to learn about new technical and policy developments affecting the audiovisual ecosystem. EPRA explores innovative means of regulating and analysing the audiovisual sector and of empowering audiences through media and information literacy and sharing that with a wider audience of stakeholders. 
  • EPRA members: 55 audiovisual regulators from 47 countries in wider Europe.

  • IRG, the Independent Regulators Group, was established in 1997 as a group of European National Telecommunications Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to share experiences and points of views among its members on important issues relating to the regulation and development of the European telecommunications market at the beginning of the liberalisation of the markets. 
  • IRG's Mission: IRG serves as a facilitator to its members, bringing tailor-made and flexible support to the fulfillment of the their roles. IRG works at improving collaboration, mutual assistance and information exchange between NRAs while ensuring equal opportunities for its members.  
  • IRG Members: 37 Telecommunications Regulatory Authorities from 27 EU member States, 4 EFTA members and 5 candidate countries to the EU.