Thursday

26th May 2022

Oettinger's digital plans focus on better infrastructure

  • More infrastructure is key to digital economy, says Oettinger (Photo: European Parliament)

In his opening address to MEPs on Monday (29 September), the EU’s incoming digital commissioner Gunther Oettinger emphasised infrastructure as key to Europe’s so-called digital economy.

“It is above all a matter of infrastructure. We need to be sure that every citizen, every company, every hairdresser, every craftsman, can use the Internet, can use the digital channels, organise their work,” he said.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He described investments in ICT infrastructure as a “fundamental pre-requisite” for a successful European digital economy. Part of the plan includes creating the regulatory environment to attract private investment.

MEPs grilled the 61-year old German politician in a three-hour session where he fielded questions ranging from cyber security to big data, the cloud, data protection and net neutrality.

Net neutrality is the principle that every point on the network can connect to any other point on the network, without discrimination on the basis of origin, destination or type of data.

Asked at a press conference after the hearing to further clarify his position on the principle, Oettinger said it “is a common Internet for all users and for citizens” and that “we need net neutrality for all users”.

He said there could be an exemption in emergency cases in terms of public interest but not for businesses.

“There may be an exemption, but not for businesses,” he said.

His response did not impress some MEPs.

“We need stronger guarantees with regard to net neutrality and we need more clarity about Oettinger’s position and planned action,” said centre-left MEPs Petra Kammerevert and Dan Nica in a joint statement.

Telecommunication companies, for their part, argue that charging for different speeds and services would enable them to upgrade and invest in better infrastructure.

MEPs before the summer amended a draft law to close loopholes left in by the European Commission's original proposal to prevent Internet providers from prioritising access to specialised services.

But an internal document circulating at the Council, representing member states, threatens to roll back measures on net neutrality in favour of big business and reintroduce some of the loopholes.

MEPs back net neutrality law

MEPs have backed open access to the Internet by tightening plans by the European Commission on net neutrality.

Orbán's new state of emergency under fire

Hungary's premier Viktor Orbán declared a state of emergency due to the war in neighbouring Ukraine hours after pushing a constitutional amendment through parliament, where two-thirds of MPs are controlled by his Fidesz party, allowing his government special powers.

Hungary turned into 'hybrid regime', MEPs say

The new draft European Parliament report is an update to the 2018 report which triggered the Article 7 procedure against Hungary, a sanctions probe aiming to rein in member states that break EU rules and values.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us