Slovakia, which holds the rotating presidency, had suggested caps of €8.50 per GB with a glide-path put in place. This was approved by 16 to 12 member states in a vote in October, but was approved by ministers on Friday.
The move to block the lower wholesale fees caps were led by states who benefit heavily from tourists, including the UK, Italy, Greece and Spain. Despite the stark divide between the two bodies, Slovakia now has permission to open talks with Parliament over the caps on data, SMS and voice traffic.
Talks will open later this month, according to the presidency, and the EU is aiming to conclude these by March in order to bring in the rules by the 17 June deadline.
"Who does not wish to remain connected and to communicate when traveling or on holiday? Abolition of roaming charges is in the eyes of many the most concrete achievement of the Union," said Slovak minister for transport, construction and regional development Arpad Ersek.