Telekom Austria (TA) chief Boris Nemsic has said that he prefers Belarus to Brussels as a business partner.
He said: "We have been treated much better in Belarus than in Brussels. That is not a political but a business comment."
He was evidently referring to EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding's recent instruction to the mobile-phone branch to lower the cost of SMS messages and broadband internet access by June 1, 2008.
Nemsic added that the EU Commission's desire to regulate prices charged end-users reminded him of Communism.
He said: "I have lived under Communism and hate regulated prices." He was born in the former Yugoslavia.
In response, Reding's spokesman Martin Selmayr claimed that TA's revenue from its mobile-phone business had increased by 10 per cent in 2007 and added that "we don't know what he is complaining about. We hope that he not only visits (Belarus President Alexander) Lukaschenko but also comes to Brussels from time to time to speak with Mrs. Reding."
TA acquired a 70-per-cent interest in Belarus mobile-phone operator MDC for 730 million Euros in 2007.
TA's shares plunged by 14 per cent last week after presentation of preliminary results for 2007 and its outlook for 2008.
Source: Wiener Zeitung.