Today, I can disclose a breaking news item: EU Commissioner Viviane Reding likes champagne.
This was announced by her spokesman Martin Selmayr today, as it became virtually clear that the extra charge you pay for calling and receiving calls on your mobile phone when travelling between European countries will be drastically slashed, in time for the summer holiday season. The EU Parliament’s Industry Committee today voted in favour of cutting these roaming charges by about 70 per cent, and if all the rest goes according to plan, the new rules will come into force in July.
“I just spoke with Commissioner Reding, who is in China, and informed her about the vote, and I can tell you that she opened a bottle of champagne after hearing about the vote”, Mr Selmayr told the amused journalists.
After a few general, more or less critical questions about the matter itself, someone in the press gallery asked:
“Um, an important distinction. Did the commissioner actually open a bottle of champagne?”
“Again, I’m surprised about your skepticism”, Mr Selmayr smurked. “If you knew Commissioner Reding, you would know that she would never miss such an opportunity”.
You can watch the whole thing by clicking here; choose “Thursday 12/04/2007”, scroll down the page and click on “12:46:01”. The all-important question about Ms Reding’s drinking habits comes at 12:53:26.
Of course, given the fierce fight the EU has put up to ensure that nothing produced outside of the Champagne region in France can be called “champagne”, one must assume that Ms Reding was able to get a genuine bottle on location, or had brought her own supply (however she managed to get that past security). Arrggh, I should have asked some kind of spanner-in-the-works question about that. Sorry, I didn’t think of that until now.