EHN 116 100


What is a European harmonised number

The European Harmonised Number (EHN) is a service with added social value that is available within the EU under a single telephone number. 116 XXX telephone numbers are reserved for social value added services.
A harmonised service with social value is a service that corresponds to a common description, that is available to individuals on a free of charge number, that has potential value for visitors from other countries and that responds to a specific social need, in particular contributing to the well-being or security of citizens or specific groups of citizens or helping citizens in difficulty. The establishment of such a service may not be mandatory for all States.

The legal framework of the EHN

The legal basis for harmonised numbers for services with added social value are the following European Commission Decisions: 2007/116/EC and 2007/698/EC

Reasons for setting up the 116 100 EHR for the elderly

  • According to the European Commission's strategy (Victims' Rights: New Strategy to empower victims), older people are particularly vulnerable victims and this status helps them to have equal access to rights and prevents secondary victimisation. A single crisis helpline number would have the same preventive function.

  • Older people are usually faced with health problems which may result in impaired mobility, orientation, self-sufficiency, access to valid information or sources of support.

  • A significant proportion of older adults do not use the Internet as a source of information and practical help in a crisis situation; this group of people is vulnerable to a lack of valid information and is more easily threatened by false information.

  • Elderly people are also the group most at risk of loneliness and loss of natural social support. People without natural social support are less able to cope with stress and crisis situations.

  • In a crisis situation, the possibility of using a free crisis helpline is the first step in getting qualified help and support, through interpersonal contact, which is the preferred option by older adults as opposed to written text. This form of assistance is easily accessible, overcoming barriers to mobility. An easy-to-remember number in reserved European format ensures that elderly citizens have equal access to help, support and information .

  • The definition of a single harmonised number for older people sends an important signal to older people that they are regarded as a respected part of society. The decision on the EHN will also send an important political signal at European and national level about the importance we attach to the protection of older people, as well as a tribute to the emancipatory efforts of generations of older people who are not simply passive recipients of help but, under conditions of good support, maintain their competences and acquire and develop new ones.

Progress to date:

  1. The Elpida Linka seniorů o.p.s. submitted a proposal to the Czech Telecommunication Office on 29 July 2021 to redefine the ETC.

    The CTU approached the European Commission and requested to start the approval process. The requirements for starting the process were fulfilled and the number 116 100 was chosen for the purpose of the elderly helpline.

    It is important to note that there is no obligation on Member States to implement the ETC, nor are organisations that express support bound by the obligation to provide the crisis telephone assistance service.

  2. The CTU has sought support for the proposal within BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC will subsequently develop an opinion on the EC proposal), and through delegates to the Council of the EU. BEREC members expressed their view at a meeting of the group in October 2021 that the group is prepared to give a favourable opinion to the European Commission if there is sufficient political support for the definition of a new number for the elderly.

  3. The Linka seniorů (under Elpida o.p.s.) is reaching out to cooperating organisations in EU Member States and obtaining their supportive comments. At the moment, 9 organisations from 7 different European countries have an endorsement.

  4. At the moment, 12 EU Member States* have already supported the initiative to define an EHR for the elderly 116 100 *.

In order for the European Harmonised Number to be discussed and approved, it is necessary to obtain the support of at least 14 Member States in the form of a statement from a Member State representative. Preferably, a statement from a professional organisation that could use the number to provide the service to the elderly once the EEN has been approved.