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Friday, November 27, 2009

Nellie Kroes: new Commissioner for INFSO

The European Commission announced its reshuffle - and its difficult to say what happened to Reding - was she promoted or pushed aside? She's now Vice-President and responsible for the cross-cutting brief on implementing the Charter of Fundamental Rights that comes in with the Lisbon 'Constitution' but most of her brief seems to be spin-doctoring for Barrroso. In any case, she'll stay involved in the Internet-access-as-human-right meme.
The new Commissioner is formerly of DG COMP, where she was initially considered less than 'adequate' but eventually respected as a tough old bird (she's 68). Her portfolio is reduced by moving the billion-Euro MEDIA programme back to Education&Culture, from which Reding lifted her Audiovisual/Media units in moving back in 2005 (Francophone Audiovisual stays adrift in the telecoms empire). So this is back to a purer neo-liberal techno-economic DG, with its enormous framework research budget and responsibility for implementing the new Telecoms Package.
Does that make Kroes an adjunct of DG COMP on telecoms matters? There's certainly not much significant policy left to fiddle with. She's been shunted out of breaking up the crisis-stricken banking sector. But after beating up Microsoft and Intel, she obviously has an eye for multinational oligopoly - which will now be tested to the full.

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