By Wieke van der Kroef
On Monday 29 September, the hearing of Commissioner-designate for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther Oettinger took place. During the hearing, Oettinger spoke of his commitment to creating a true digital single market and building up European competitors to be able to stand up to US techgiants such as Google and Amazon. One of his main focus areas is to develop the internet infrastructure and provide all European citizens with access to affordable broadband.
In his answers Oettinger also showed that he is not yet completely aware of what goes on in the digital world. He stated that stars who put naked photos of themselves online could not count on his protection. This reference to recent scandals was a bit off, as these stars’ personal data was accessed and spread without authorisation and therefore should fall under the right to privacy.
In the following days the committees that organised the hearing will have an indicative vote on Oettinger’s candidature, where he will probably be confirmed despite criticisms on his knowledge of the digital world. The final vote on the Commission will take place after another round of questions in the Plenary of the European Parliament on the 21st of October. If everything runs smoothly, Oettinger will take office as part of the Juncker Commission on the 1st of November.