Contemporary history of Europe

Viviane Reding on her action in the field of the information society and media (2004-2010)

The following pages are taken from a long interview (more than eight hours of footage in total) that Viviane Reding granted us in 2015 in connection with the “Pierre Werner and Europe” research project. Drawing on more than 40 years’ experience in politics, Viviane Reding spoke about her career, the role of Luxembourg and Luxembourgers in the European integration process, and various key events in which she played a part. In these extracts, she discusses her role as a member of the first and second Barroso Commissions (2004-2009 and 2010-2014) and her efforts to help build an information and knowledge society in Europe, one that serves citizens and protects their rights and fundamental freedoms. Her achievements in this respect include capping mobile phone roaming charges (they were subsequently abolished in
2017), advocating for the introduction of a single emergency number (112) in all EU countries, launching the Europeana digital library, and spearheading a programme to use technological
innovation for climate and energy solutions. She also describes the process of developing a Digital Agenda for Europe to improve the continent’s digital competitiveness compared with the United States, China and Japan – a complex and challenging task given the context of globalisation and the divergent interests of the various stakeholders (research, industry, consumers, etc.). Finally, she mentions the reform of personal data protection that she initiated
(leading to the GDPR, adopted in April 2016).

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