“We are in the midst of a revolution,” Günther Oettinger told the European Parliament. “Digital technologies are changing the world and our lives completely.”
This week, Parliament began hearings to evaluate Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s EU Commissioner-designates. German Commissioner Oettinger has been chosen to join Juncker’s team in charged of the portfolio on Digital Economy and Society.
Online audiences are already familiar with the former Energy Commissioner, notorious for his poor English, though many videos circulating online are now more than four years old.
During the three-hour hearing before the European Parliament Monday evening, Oettinger only spoke in German.
The 60-year-old received questions primarily in his native German, due to the high number of German and Austrian MEPs in attendance.
In reference to Oettinger’s language skills, Martin Sonneborn, former editor-in-chief for the satirical magazineTitanic, and MEP for The Party, asked if the Commissioner would answer his question in English.
Sonneborn asked whether Oettinger would promote the “right to be forgotten” on online during his term as Digital Commissioner. How would Oettinger, Sonneborn wanted to know, erase evidence that the nominee had been forced to give up his driver’s licence with a BAC of 1.4 per mille, for example?
“I intend to answer your question, but will only accept your demands to a limited degree,” Oettinger replied cooly in German.