All citizens to take full advantage of digital shift
If approved, Mariya Gabriel will work on targeted initiatives in cybersecurity
Maria Koleva, Brussels
23 June, 2017
At their sitting on 21 June the members of the EP Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) recommended in a letter that Mariya Gabriel, Bulgarian commissioner-designate for Digital Economy and Society portfolio, be propped up for the job by the full house during the next plenary session. MEPs commented that thus her way to Berlaymont, the Commission’s headquarters in Brussels, is vouched.
During the hearing held on 20 June by the two committees, plus the associated Internal Market, Legal Affairs and Civil Liberties committees, former colleagues of Gabriel posed her quite a few stiff questions in the course of two and a half hours as to check whether she fits for the position.
It was not a surprise for the members of the European Parliament that she was well prepared on a broad circle of topics from cybersecurity to copy rights, spectrum allocation, taxation and online platforms, as they are well aware of her efficiency, enthusiasm and ability to learn fast and easily. In the last eight years as a Bulgarian MEP from EPP Group, she has steered more than 20 different dossiers.
In her introductory speech during the hearing, shifting from Bulgarian to French and English, Mariya Gabriel said that for her the realisation of the Digital Single Market is a task of the utmost importance and “it is from my past experience that I will draw resources and determination to achieve this goal.” She also accented on the importance of creating an enabling environment for all Europeans to take full advantage of the considerable potential offered by digital technologies. Gabriel stated as well that she will seek to reach political agreements on the proposals concerning the Code of electronic communications, copyright reform, reform of audio-visual media services and on unjustified geo-blocking. I will propose new targeted initiatives in the field of cybersecurity, starting with the review of the EU strategy and will make proposals for additional measures on cyber security standards such as certification and labelling. She underlined her determination for securing the privacy and safety of data and at the same time guaranteeing that data can flow freely inside the EU.
Replying to a question about concrete, coordinated and efficient solutions the Commission can undertake in response to the new challenges posed by the growing risks of cyberattacks, Gabriel asserted that critical infrastructure for industry, transport, the healthcare sector has to be the first to be armed against such attacks, drawing lessons from 'WannaCry' swoop recently.
As regards the illegal or abusive content that appears on the online platforms and the demarcation line between freedom of expression and censorship, Gabriel confirmed determination to work together with those platforms to quickly delete illegal content. She accented on the need of “voluntary measures that can give us the right results, for instance, the code of conduct to combat hate speech”, as it was done with Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Viber.
The vote in plenary will be held in early July in Strasbourg. According to the procedure, it will be in a secret ballot.