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Europe-wide free phone numbers on the way?

Viviane Reding wants to introduce Europe-wide free phone numbers beginning with 116

The European Commission (EC) recently created a Europe-wide phone number for reporting missing children. Now it is considering adding other free pan-European phone numbers to work across borders too.

Viviane Reding, the EC's Information Society and Media Commissioner, said it is planning to introduce six-digit pan-European "free-phone" numbers - starting with '116' - one of which will include a helpline for children. The number for reporting missing children is 116 000.

Reding said the new 116 range of phone numbers will be allocated to services that will "help citizens in difficulty, or contribute to their well-being or safety". The EC is now asking the public to suggest possible uses for such numbers.

The consultation period for public comment will end on 20 May, after which the EC will decide which services to adopt. It will allow the various member states to allocate numbers to appropriate organisations within their countries.

Information about the future free-phone service and contact information can be found here .