New EU digital chief, Guenther Oettinger, called for measures to boost the bottom line of Europe’s operators and IT companies, said Handelsblatt.

“In the future, it must again be allowed for companies to make a fair profit,” said Oettinger (pictured).

This improvement to margin could partly be achieved through the regulation of “network fees”, he suggested.

His calls for more protection for operators will surprise many, given the contrast with his predecessor Neelie Kroes.

Just this week, Kroes reflected on the things she would do differently if she had her time again as the EU’s Digital Commissioner: “I would have pushed the telco industry harder in the face of inevitable changes in the digital value chain. They see the challenges but are locked into old business models and need an external push for change.”

In contrast, Oettinger’s comments seem more appreciative of the pressures faced by operators.

He also talked about the net neutrality debate, saying “completely neutral” access to the internet should not be mandatory. Different categories of service can be distinguished by speed. However, this should not lead to any kind of “social disadvantage”, he said.

Elsewhere in the same interview, Oettinger said he plans to set up an EU data protection authority. The body would safeguard data for both consumers and businesses. It would also cover for shortcomings within EU member states which either have not properly implemented EU data protection regulation, or have too few staff to enforce it.