Commissioner Kroes on net neutrality

By EDRi · January 27, 2010

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Deutsch: [Kommissarin Kroes über Netzneutralität |]

On 14 January 2010, Neelie Kroes, the former Competition commissioner, had
her interview in front of the Internal Market and Industries committees of
the European Parliament (EP) as designated for the position of digital
agenda commissioner.

Answering to the various questions of the committee, Kroes addressed a
serious of issues covering freedoms in the networked society, amendment 138
of the Telecom package, interoperability standards and net neutrality.

Kroes supported net neutrality and said this would be a central
issue on her agenda. “Open and clear cut net neutrality is needed,” said
Kroes who considers the EP must be vigilant against “new threats to Net
Neutrality which can arise from many sources, and blocking and
discrimination against VoIP services by mobile operators in a number of
European countries are just one example. For me, it’s main (key) that we’re
not blocking opportunities for certain technologies…”

When asked to say what she understood by net neutrality, Kroes said: “The
core issue is whether Internet access providers and broadband providers
should be able to exercise control and limit users’ access to any content;
to me that is a no go when it’s done for commercially motivated reasons;
only for security reasons or when spam is involved ; (if it’s for)
commercially motivated reasons, that’s not net neutrality.”

Ms. Kroes was also interviewed a second time by the same Comittees in a
closed door hearing. Her opinion on Net neutrality was the same and she
suggested a summit on “the open internet” to prepare the Commission’s policy
on net neutrality later in 2010.

When asked about fundamental rights, freedom of expression and privacy in
relation to ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement), in Kroes’s opinion
ACTA was a threat to net neutrality and the Community acquis and stated:
“For the Commission the objective is that our international partners
guarantee the same level of protection as the EU provides.”

Copyright is a sensitive issue according to Kroes who believes that “as long
as there are different national copyright rules, it is difficult to have a
pan-European piracy initiative” and she expressed the wish to work with
Commisioner Michael Barnier. This is a contradiction as Barnier is in favour
of stronger enforcement measures against piracy that threaten Internet
neutrality as well as a single European digital market that Kroes also

Asked if she intended to create an EU cyberspace regulator, Kroes replied
she would rather see the strengthening of ENISA’s role.

She also said she wanted 100 percent broadband availability across the EU,
to “improve competitiveness and bring an excellent opportunity to create
jobs, higher productivity and economic growth”.

The new commission is estimated be in place by 10 February.

Summary of hearing of Neelie Kroes – Digital Agenda (14.01.2010)

Written answers by Neelrie Kroes – Hearing with Neelie KROES, Vice-President
designate of the Commission/Commissioner-designate for Digital Agenda

Neelie Kroes: can she protect Net Neutrality? (14.01.2010)

Commissioner Kroes commits herself to Net neutrality (15.01.2010)

Kroes to uphold net neutrality in Europe (18.01.2010),1000000085,39994505,00.htm