February 13, 2014
According to international media reports, a large number of European Commissioners currently oppose Vice President Almunia’s proposed settlement with Google in the battle over its abuse of dominant position in search, highlighting that there are still a lot of concerns and issues to address before the European Commission can reach an acceptable settlement.
While this is highly unusual, it is not the least bit surprising. Far from providing a solution to the abuse of its dominant position, Google’s proposed commitments, should they be accepted, would actually amount to an official blessing for a new and even more dangerous form of market abuse.
The publication of the settlement proposals on Google’s blog last week, far from reassuring people close to this case, enables us to accurately assess how weak these are. The Commissioners are right to say that their work is not yet done.
At a time when rising Euroskepticism is expected to produce a record crop of anti-European Members of the European Parliament in the May elections, the Commission knows it cannot afford to risk undermining its legacy with a historic mistake. It is vital that the Commissioners pursue their concerns with conviction to ensure an equal and level playing field for the Internet economy in Europe.Chris Sherwood