EU’s new digital chief grilled by MEPs, but avoids controversial questions

New commissioner designate for the digital economy and society will be responsible for EU policy across a wide range of technology and telecoms areas

Europe’s proposed new digital czar has sailed through a European Parliament hearing to judge her fitness for the role by diplomatically sidestepping the difficult questions.

Mariya Gabriel, a Bulgarian MEP, is the new commissioner designate for the digital economy and society, after the controversial Gunther Oettinger was moved to another role halfway through his term.

The digital position wields a huge amount of power over Europe’s tech market, but Gabriel was evasive on tough questions about encryption backdoors and content filtering, preferring to highlight her experience as a compromise builder and emphasising the need for “dialogue”.

Despite her as-yet unconfirmed position, Gabriel stuck rigidly to the European Commission line on all subjects. “I will react based on my mandate, and I will react based on the competencies of the Commission,” she said, frustrating European Parliament members who were keen to hear her own thoughts and opinions.

Continue reading…