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9.3. Telephone numbers

The ways of writing telephone numbers are controlled by various international standards issued by the International Telecommunication Union (principally recommendations ITU-T E.122, E.123 and E.126).

In practice, however, these norms pose various difficulties, especially those concerning the recommended forms of presentation. For reasons of simplification, the EU authorities have agreed on a uniform presentation in all EU languages, according to the following principles.

Indicate the number in its international form.
Prefix the international dialling code with a plus sign ‘+’ (no following space) indicating the need to add the prefix for international calls.
After the international dialling code and a space, the complete number, including the regional code if there is one, is presented in a single block:
+33 140633900
An extension number is separated from the main number by a hyphen. Do not pair off the digits of an extension number. They appear in a single block:
+32 222020-43657
For a national phone call, the international number must be modified according to the latest norms of the country’s telephone communications organisation (e.g. including a local prefix between the international code and the actual telephone number). Because of the varying national arrangements and their constant evolution, telephone numbers will always be presented in their international format in the works of the European Union institutions and organs.

Grouped telephone numbers

When indicating more than one telephone number, separate them using a forward slash with a space either side:

+33 140633900 / 140678900 / 140123456

When indicating consecutive numbers in an abbreviated manner, use a forward slash without spaces. Use a hyphen to indicate the start of the variable part of the phone numbers, in the same manner as for extension numbers (see fourth bullet point above):

+33 1406339-00/01/02


Introductory expressions

The following expressions are generally used to introduce contact numbers:

‘Tel.’ or ‘tel.’ (with a full stop but no colon),
‘Fax’ or ‘fax’ (without a full stop and without a colon),
‘Telex’ or ‘telex’ (without a colon),
‘Mobile’ or ‘mobile’ (without a colon).

Alternatively, a graphic symbol may be used:

+33 1406339-00/01/02
Do not use the term ‘GSM’ for ‘mobile’. GSM is one norm among many (GPRS, UMTS, etc.).
Europe Direct

In order to make it easy to remember, the Europe Direct telephone number is an exception to the above rules and should be written as follows:

00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11

Last updated: 29.8.2019
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