Free Wi-Fi will not improve the citizen’s connection to Europe

6 December 2016
Free Wi-Fi will not improve the citizen’s connection to Europe

In the coming years, the European Commission wants to spend 120 million euros on Wi-Fi installations in European cities and municipalities. “This is the umpteenth attempt to buy favour with a freebie and also to divert attention from the shaky house that the European Union has become,” says MEP Anneleen Van Bossuyt, who has been appointed by her ECR The N-VA is a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), a conservative, eurorealistic parliamentary group in the European Parliament. The N-VA shares their realistic view of the European project and also advocates for the correct and intensive application of the subsidiarity principle. For example, we must not be afraid to ask ourselves if it would be better to leave certain European initiatives to the Member States. The N-VA also identifies with the emphases that the ECR places on the social-economic issues. Since the 2014 elections, the ECR has become the third largest parliamentary group in the European Parliament. ECR group to monitor this dossier. “What’s more, this Wi-Fi stunt isn’t free at all: the ones coughing up those 120 million euros will be the European taxpayers themselves.”

“The European Union is attempting to convince the citizen of its reason for existence with a laundry list of so-called free gifts: train tickets, roaming, and now Wi-Fi. But when it’s time to translate those little ideas into actual measures, things never turn out to be that simple,” Anneleen Van Bossuyt notes. “Just think about free roaming, for which an agreement has still not been found. And which, ironically enough, will actually end up making all subscriptions more expensive, even if you never use data roaming abroad.”

A non-issue

Anneleen Van Bossuyt thinks that the Commission has to use resources where they are needed. For example, there is hardly a lack of Wi-Fi - even free Wi-Fi - in the EU, and there’s certainly no lack whatsoever in Flanders. “The Commission is trying to solve a non-issue. What small villages in Eastern and Central Europe that only have limited Wi-Fi actually need is good cable connections. For that matter, we are seeing that private players, and sometimes local authorities too, are frequently even providing free Wi-Fi for citizens or tourists. Is it then really Europe’s task to enter into competition with them?”

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