A new debate over European unity has exploded - this time we're talking telephone numbers.
The European Commission has published a green paper on developing a single telephone code for Europe. It is proposing a European code of 3, so callers to any EU country would dial 003, just as they dial 001 to access any US state.
The proposal would also allow firms to be issued freephone numbers that can be accessed from anywhere on the continent. This would mean businesses could reach new parts of Europe by encouraging prospective customers in different countries to call, claim supporters, while numbers for emergency services could be the same throughout Europe.
BT's head of EU affairs Larry Stone said BT 'supports most of the proposals', but warned a single number for Europe would incur costs for firms, particularly if it requires number changes. 'Changes in numbers mean reprogramming PBXs and operators need to modify their systems,' he said.
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