Money: EU Hands Commissioner Who Targeted Tech Giants a Second Term - PressFrom - United Kingdom

MoneyEU Hands Commissioner Who Targeted Tech Giants a Second Term

17:20  10 september  2019
17:20  10 september  2019 Source:

YouTube fined $170m after collecting personal data of children under 13

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EU commissioners are not meant to represent their governments, but often play an informal role, both as a Trócsányi, who said he had had “constructive” talks with Von der Leyen, was rumoured to be An arch-conservative commissioner at the helm will have devastating consequences for the lives of

The EU unveiled proposals Wednesday for a digital tax that targets US tech giants on Wednesday "Our pre-Internet rules do not allow our member states to tax digital companies operating in Europe when they have little or no physical presence here," EU Economics Affairs Commissioner Pierre

EU Hands Commissioner Who Targeted Tech Giants a Second Term © Kay Nietfeld/Zuma Press

Margrethe Vestager, the Danish politician who has been the public face of the European Union’s regulatory push against Silicon Valley, has been nominated for a second, five-year term as the bloc’s competition commissioner.

The move was a surprise. Ms. Vestager was expected to hand over the competition role—a powerful post with hands-on responsibilities for investigating and enforcing anti-competition issues—as she ascended to a higher role in the commission. She will also take on an influential new role in shaping legislation for digital companies.

Ms. Vestager made a name for herself by slapping record antitrust fines on US tech companies, including a total of $9.4 billion (£7.6bn) on Alphabet Inc.’s Google. She also ordered Ireland to claw back $15 billion (£12bn) from Apple Inc. in what the commission called unpaid taxes. That earned her the nickname “tax lady” from President Donald Trump.

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Details about the meetings, the latest move in two weeks of high-stakes economic brinkmanship between the United States and China, were shared by two people familiar with them, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to discuss them and could face retribution.

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The division she has led for the last five years has pursued high-profile probes against Inc., Facebook Inc. and Qualcomm Inc., as well as non-tech American giants like McDonald’s Corp., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Starbucks Corp.

Ms. Vestager is slated to become one of incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s three “executive” deputies, in a move that is expected to provide the new president with extra clout in commission deliberations. Her mandate over rule making related to the digital economy could give her even more influence over global tech regulation. Ms. Vestager confirmation by the European Parliament is widely expected.

EU Hands Commissioner Who Targeted Tech Giants a Second Term © Getty Ursula von der Leyen

Regulatory rule making in Brussels and Washington has emerged as a key issue facing the West’s big tech giants, dominated by American companies. Europe has taken a sizeable lead over policing Silicon Valley in recent years but the US has also piled in on a number of fronts in recent months. Several agencies, including the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, have taken aim at tech companies, as have attorneys general across the country.

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Europe ’s willingness to police tech companies’ activities contrasts with a relatively hands -off approach favored by United States authorities, which have so far refrained from widespread antitrust lawsuits and privacy investigations into how tech companies use people’s online data.

But anxiety about the tech giants on the part of startups and their investors goes much deeper than Venture capitalists, such as Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures, who was an early investor in Recruiting is a second tool the giants will use to enforce their kill zones. Big tech firms are able to

Mrs. von der Leyen’s administration has already signalled a push for new laws on emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and the use of big data. It has promised action on this front within 100 days of taking office on Nov. 1. The commission, under Ms. Vestager, is already probing how companies like Facebook and use data gathered on their platforms. Both companies say have done nothing wrong.

American tech companies have said they generally welcome greater oversight. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook last year in Brussels attacked the “data-industrial complex” and called tighter privacy regulation. Facebook has touted its new efforts to police the content on its site.

But lawyers warned tech giants to brace themselves for more European scrutiny.

The commission’s focus on “digital giants is set to sharpen further,” said Alexi Dimitriou, competition counsel at Ashurst, a multinational law firm. “With her remit also expanding to coordinating wider digital policies, digital business should expect regulatory intensity to continue,” he said.

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The EU is deeply divided over how to increase the tax take from tech giants such as Google, Apple and Amazon, who have recently come under fire for being perceived as not paying their fair share of taxes.

The European Union issued internet giants an ultimatum to remove illegal online terrorist content within an hour, or risk facing new EU -wide laws. This is “not only possible, it’s being done already by a number of the larger platforms,” said Julian King, the EU ’s commissioner for Security Union.

In another important appointment, Ireland’s Phil Hogan is slated to take over the bloc’s top trade post, where he will be responsible for negotiating future trade deals with the UK after Brexit and with the US Mr. Hogan, currently commissioner for agriculture, has been a tough critic of Brexit and the UK.

EU Hands Commissioner Who Targeted Tech Giants a Second Term © Getty Phil Hogan

He is also an ally of Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who, in a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Monday, repeated his vow to be Britain’s strongest ally in securing a post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU.

Mrs. von der Leyen said she was seeking a “geopolitical commission,” reflecting expectations among officials that she wants the EU to project its ambitions globally and be less fixated internally than in the past.

She officially unveiled other members of her new team on Tuesday, with the most powerful players—led by Ms. Vestager—focused on redesigning rules to help European companies compete with the US and China and delivering a European version of the Green New Deal.

The commission, which acts as the European Union’s executive branch, is in charge of negotiating trade deals, designing new rules and regulations for the bloc and also acts as its top anti-trust enforcer. Each EU country is represented by a commissioner, except the UK which is set to depart the bloc on Oct. 31.

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This week, American tech giants Alphabet (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX) have had their Google Google’s Paris offices were raided by French investigators this week who suspected it owes According to the Financial Times, several banker sources said Apple will most likely target a

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As part of her Green New Deal pledge, Mrs. von der Leyen has promised an economic plan focused on combating climate change that envisions Europe becoming the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050. She has tapped Frans Timmermans, a former Dutch foreign minister, to be one of her other top deputies, leading that portfolio.

“Those who act first and fastest will be the ones who grasp the opportunities from the ecological transition. I want Europe to be the front-runner,” Mrs. von der Leyen said.

France and Italy, the second and third-largest economies in the bloc once the UK leaves, are getting influential positions: Sylvie Goulard, an early ally of President Emmanuel Macron and currently the deputy governor of the Bank of France, will be in charge of the internal market, defence industry issues and the digital single market. Italy’s former prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, will oversee economic affairs.

Video: Vestager: We need a global push on digital taxes (CNBC)

Mrs. Von der Leyen’s team of 26 commissioners will still face hearings in the European Parliament, which could result in some names being withdrawn or reshuffled before the new commission takes office.

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The Parliament has already wielded some influence. Mrs. von der Leyen has put the Green New Deal at the centre of her policy agenda in order to placate the rising number of climate-concerned lawmakers before they voted on her becoming the next commission president.

Mrs. Von der Leyen has pledged to aggressively cut emissions to make the bloc carbon-neutral by 2050. She will propose a border tax on carbon to protect European companies against global competitors subject to less stringent emissions rules. And she wants to transform the European Investment Bank--the EU’s lending arm--into a green financier that would help underwrite €1 trillion (£890bn) of climate-related investments.

Mrs. von der Leyen will have to secure buy-in from the poorer Eastern European members, including Poland, that rely on coal to fire their economies. She will also have to bridge policy differences between France and Germany, with Paris pushing for a rapid transition while Berlin advocates a more cautious approach.

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