Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

Kroes to be new telecoms Commissioner?

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Neelie Kroes, the existing European Commissioner on competition issues, is being strongly rumoured [subscription required; limited viewing time] as the replacement Commissioner for Viviane Reding when the Commission receives its long-awaited re-shuffling next month in time for the start of 2010.

It had been indicated back in July that Reding would not keep the telecoms post in the re-shuffle. The Commission maintains that a final decision on specific posts has not yet been made, so the story is still rumour although it does appear to have more than a degree of credibility.

The EU’s telecoms policy, including the establishment of BEREC (the EU-wide regulatory authority), is set in place for the foreseeable future, now that the compromise procedure agreement on the package of directives has been approved by Parliament, but Kroes, the Dutchwoman who has been in charge of the EU’s competition policy directorate for the last five-year term, is likely otherwise to bring a fearsomely strident approach to telecoms policy regulation, based on the hardline approach she has adopted in competition policy in the last period (which includes a facing down of Microsoft). This would seem to encompass BEREC, the appointment of whose key personnel is likely to be an early task for the new Commissioner.

Once she has been confirmed in post (if indeed she is), an early reminder to her of the reasons why the UK government is seeking to engender a statutory duty to take into account in regulatory decision-making the impact on investment as well as on competition might well be in order…

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Written by Calvin

26/11/2009 at 1:44 pm

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