The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations - CEPT - was established in 1959 by 19 countries, which expanded to 26 during its first ten years. Original members were the monopoly-holding postal and telecommunications administrations. CEPT's activities included co-operation on commercial, operational, regulatory and technical standardisation issues.
In 1988 CEPT decided to create ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, into which all its telecommunication standardisation activities were transferred.
In 1992 the postal and telecommunications operators created their own organisations, Post Europe and ETNO, respectively. In conjunction with the European policy of separating postal and telecommunications operations from policy-making and regulatory functions, CEPT thus became a body of policy-makers and regulators. At the same time, Central and Eastern European Countries became eligible for membership of CEPT. With its 48 members CEPT now covers almost the entire geographical area of Europe.
In 1995 the role and purpose of CEPT was redefined at its plenary assembly on 5-6 September 1995 in Weimar as follows:
CEPT offers its members the chance of:
- establishing a European forum for discussions on sovereign and regulatory issues in the field of post and telecommunications issues;
- providing mutual assistance among members with regard to the settlement of sovereign/regulatory issues;
- exerting an influence on the goals and priorities in the field of European Post and Telecommunications through common positions;
- shaping, in the field of European posts and telecoms, those areas coming under its responsibilities;
- carrying out its activities at a pan-European level;
- strengthening and fostering more intensive co-operation with Eastern and Central European countries;
- promoting and facilitating relations between European regulators (e.g. through personal contacts);
- influencing, through common positions, developments within ITU and UPU in accordance with European goals;
- responding to new circumstances in a non-bureaucratic and cost-effective way and carrying out its activities in the time allocated;
- settling common problems at committee level, through close collaboration between its committees;
- giving its activities more binding force, if required, than in the past; creating a single Europe on posts and telecommunications sectors.
CEPT established three committees, one on postal matters, CERP (Comité européen de Réglementation Postale) and two on Electronic Communications issues: ERC (European Radiocommunications Committee) and ECTRA (European Committee for Regulatory Telecommunications Affairs), now replaced by one committee (see below). The field of responsibility for each committee is decided by CEPT's Plenary Assembly, while each committee establishes its own rules of procedure and elects its chairman.
The committees handle harmonisation activities within their respective fields of responsibility, and adopt recommendations and decisions. These recommendations and decisions are normally prepared by their working groups and project teams.
On 6 May 1991, the European Radiocommunications Committee established a permanent office in Copenhagen, the European Radiocommunications Office - ERO - with the purpose of supporting the activities of the committee and conducting studies for it and for the European Commission. On 1 September 1994, ECTRA also established a permanent office in Copenhagen: the European Telecommunications Office - ETO - for the same purpose. The ERO and ETO were "de facto" merged in 2001. A Convention establishing the merged body (the European Communications Office: ECO) entered into force on 1st July 2009.
In September 2001, at its Plenary Assembly meeting in Bergen, CEPT made a number of important steps to strengthen the organisation.
The basic instruments, the CEPT Arrangement and Rules of Procedure, were amended.
A Presidency was created
A policy agenda was adopted to give CEPT a more active role as a forum for strategic planning, decision-making, and preparing for conferences of the International Telecommunications Union.
As a response to the convergence in the telecommunications sector and the requirements of the information society, the two committees dealing separately with radiocommunications and telecommunications were replaced by the Electronic Communications Committee. The committee dealing with postal services, CERP, has not been affected by this change. Furthermore the Assembly endorsed the creation of a single permanent office to support the work of CEPT.
Also, the new CEPT Arrangement established a troika where the previous and the future Presidency give assistance to the current Presidency and at the same time hold the offices of Vice Presidencies, in order to promote continuity of the functions and work of the Presidency and to reflect the new CEPT approach.
The first troika was formed by Norway (the Presidency) the United Kingdom and Portugal as Vice-Presidencies.
The following countries have held the Presidency:
The United Kingdom from 1st October 2001.
Portugal from 1st October 2002
Switzerland from 1st October 2003
Romania from 1st October 2004
Germany from 1st October 2005
Netherlands from 1st October 2006
Malta took over the Presidency on 1st October 2007. The Presidency was extended until April 2009. An Extraordinary Assembly on the 19-20 March 2009 replaced the rotating Presidency with a co-presidency of the Chairmen of the three Committees: ECC, CERP and Com-ITU.
Administrations from the following 48 countries are members of CEPT:
Albania, Andorra, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vatican.
Updated: July 2009