Its announcement, on Tuesday, July 11, of the appointment of Fiona Scott Morton to a key post in Brussels has sparked an outcry. The American has been appointed as the new chief economist at the powerful Directorate for Competition, specifically in charge of regulating technology firms.
At risk of conflicts of interest. In addition to his nationality – in principle, social enterprises must hire EU nationals – his professional life raises questions: he previously worked as a consultant for American technology companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Apple. Justice Against Justice Under President Barack Obama.
His appointment raises controversy at a time when Europe seeks to protect its digital and economic sovereignty against the United States with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (Digital Services Act). , TSA), which may get the Big Tech way.
Government and Medef protests
The controversy erupted last weekend. On July 13, two French ministers, Catherine Colonna and Jean-Noël Barot, expressed surprise on Twitter at the appointment, believing he was well-deserved. “To be reconsidered” by the European Commission. Alas, the next day, the latter addressed the inadmissibility of this recruitment to the French government, which demanded its cancellation.
On the same day, Thomas Faure, founder of start-up Waller, launched an online petition calling for the appointment to be revoked. As of Monday, July 17 afternoon, he had collected more than 13,000 signatures. Agefi.
In the European Parliament, the leaders of the PPE (right-wing), S&D (social democrats), Renewal (centrist and liberal) and Greens groups have also written to the Commission. “to cancel this decision”, Condemns the risk of conflict of interest and interference by Washington.
In this process, on the evening of 14 July, Medef, the French employers’ organization, added its voice to this cross-party initiative and recalled it in its press release. “Digital regulation is a key issue for France and Europe that has adopted the DMA”. And “It is Department of Justice It (…) condemned a large number of European and French companies, including leading BNP Paribas or Airbus, to severe financial sanctions, usually avoiding US companies.
Inquiry by Competition Commissioner
In this position, if confirmed, Fiona Scott Morton will play a key role in decisions made by Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner responsible for investigating anti-competitive behavior by companies and approving mergers and acquisitions.
It remains to be seen whether the European Commission can maintain its agenda well in the face of the storm this announcement has created. Margrethe Vestager will be questioned in the European Parliament on the matter on Tuesday afternoon, several media reported on Monday, citing an administration spokesman.
However, Fiona Scott Morton nominated and was approved by the College of Commissioners. “The decision has been taken. We see no reason to reconsider it.”, Commission spokesperson Dana Spinant assured during a press conference last Friday. So Fiona Scott Morton will take office on September 1 for a three-year contract. If Kavan opposes his appointment.
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