EU digi tzar: 'I like the nickname STEELIE NEELIE. Yeah, why not'

Regrets, I've had a few ... says outgoing commish

Outgoing Brussels' unelected digi commissioner Neelie Kroes was in London this morning for her swansong in the UK's capital city, ahead of the vice-president's tenure ending later this month.

Steelie Neelie surprisingly remarked that she liked the nickname The Register had given her. When asked about the moniker, she said: "Yeah, yeah, why not."

As regular readers of these pages will know, the "Steelie" label is in fact ironic, given Kroes' soft stance with Silicon Valley fads.

Kroes, who was speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt, went on to reel out her usual script on net neutrality and the modern digital world.

She said that the European Union needed an "open internet for everyone".

Kroes added that telcos were continuing to be bloody-minded about net neutrality.

"It's up to them – it's a stupid line to be only the pipe owner," Steelie Neelie said. She argued that telcos should be creating specialised services and claimed that such a move was a "win-win" for everyone, but she said that network operators were "still spoilt by the last [ring-fenced] market."

Kroes said: "They should take opportunities ... it's a bigger market, not an old fashioned business model but a new model that is connected with your way of living."

But the commissioner confessed it was one of her regrets that, during her tenure, she had failed to bring in reforms earlier to the telecoms market.

On her successors, Steelie Neelie was happy to point out: "I will be succeeded by three men, so the importance of the [digital] agenda is very clear."

She added, in response to recent gaffes from her incoming replacements, including digi-phobe Gunther (the H stays) Oettinger, that "everybody has the right to make a mistake and you are learning from your failures."

Kroes added: "Come on, give them a chance."

She also touched on the poorly labelled "right to be forgotten" debate, saying that it was up to parents to remind their kids to be careful not to overshare personal information online.

And, on the world's biggest ad broker, Kroes added: "I think that Google is doing whatever it can [with its search index] and then it is up to you. It is an open society and we should get used to that."

Aww, you big softie, Steelie Neelie. ®

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