Reding Renominated as EU Commissioner for Another 5 Years

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Viviane Reding, the European commissioner who slashed the cost of mobile telephony, was renominated for another five-year term Wednesday. But it is not certain that she will be able to continue the information society and telecom portfolio as she has said she wants to.

Reding's efforts to reduce roaming charges and termination rates over the past five years have earned her a reputation as an energetic defender of consumer interests and a thorn in the side of many large telecom firms.

In an interview with IDG in March, the commissioner said the rapid change in information and communication technologies means her job will continue to present "fascinating challenges."

She singled out cloud computing for specific mention, saying that it would raise new issues concerning copyright and data protection that she would relish taking charge of.

However, some countries, including Germany and Spain, are understood to oppose her reappointment in her current job because her popular cost-cutting measures have hurt the former telecom monopolies there.

This may be an obstacle to her reappointment in November, when Commission President-elect Jose Manuel Barroso and the 27 heads of government decide on the distribution of top jobs in the next Commission.

If Germany, for example, chooses to nominate a commissioner well suited to the telecom and information society portfolio then Reding may be relocated to a different dossier.

Normally, she should receive a high-profile position because as a third-term commissioner she will be one of the most senior members of Barroso's new team.

One person following the formation of the next commission closely said Reding could be a candidate for the internal market or competition commissioner job, which is widely seen as one of the most important. The person asked not to be named.

Reding said she isn't so interested in the competition dossier, but the internal market job "is another one where you can take initiatives that make a difference and help Europe achieve social and societal goals."

One person close to Reding who asked not to be named said there is still a good chance Reding will get what she wants most -- an expanded version of her current job. "I would say she is 80 percent likely to get it, and if she doesn't she'll get either internal market or competition," the source said.

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