* Post-Brexit, Juncker seeks to show EU works for voters
* Mobile operators say commission's plans too generous
* Juncker also says EU would work to protect data privacy
STRASBOURG, Sept 14 European Commission
President Jean-Claude Juncker touted a plan on Wednesday for
free mobile roaming and wireless internet in cities across the
European Union, seeking to rally popular support for a bloc
battered by Brexit and divisions over migration.
Juncker highlighted the initiatives in an annual State of
the Union address that sought to counter euroscepticism with
concrete examples of how technocratic institutions in Brussels
can deliver improvements to people's everyday lives.
"When you travel in Europe with your mobile phone, you will
be able to feel at home anywhere in Europe thanks to these new
roaming rules," he told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
In a surprise move this month before the speech, Juncker
withdrew proposals to limit the number of days consumers can use
their mobile phones abroad without paying extra fees after
criticism that the rules favoured telecoms firms.
He ordered the draft revised in what allies and officials
said showed the EU executive wanted to be seen to listen to
voters three months after Britons opted to leave the bloc.
Juncker said the EU would also create a legal framework to
promote the expansion of high-speed internet and efforts to
protect the personal online data of citizens across the
"We propose today to equip every European village and every
city with free wireless internet access," Juncker said, without
giving more details of how the EU would help to achieve this
goal within the next decade.
He added that the EU would work to defend people's right to
privacy, saying: "Europeans do not like drones overhead
recording their every move, or companies stockpiling their every
mouse click. In Europe privacy matters."
He also promoted a copyright proposal that could give
publishers more bargaining power with Google when
demanding payment from the world's most popular internet search
engine for displaying snippets of their news.
"The creation of content is not a hobby, it is a
profession," he said. "As the world goes digital we have also to
empower our artists and creators ... I want journalists,
publishers and authors to be paid fairly for their work."
As the EU executive's seeks to reform the bloc's telecoms
and copyright industries to catch up with Asia and the United
States, it has balanced such populist initiatives with proposals
that could boost revenues for telecoms operators such as
Deutsche Telekom and Orange.
The telecoms industry had already lobbied against the burden
of the original proposal of allowing them to charge extra only
for clients who use their phones abroad for more than 90 days a
year or 30 in a row.
(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald and Alissa de Carbonnel and
Marilyn Haigh in Brussels; editing by David Stamp)