The Open Internet Project welcomes the withdrawal of Fiona Scott Morton's candidacy as Chief Competition Economist at the European Commission
L’OIP welcomes Fiona Scott Morton’s decision to resign from the position of Chief Competition Economist offered to her by the European Commission
This resignation comes just hours after a parliamentary hearing during which the Commission Vice-President responsible for competition, Margrethe Vestager, did not dispel any doubts as to the appropriateness of the appointment.
It was impossible to maintain such an appointment, given that the hearing revealed that all Fiona Scott Morton’s conflicts of interest – in particular with major US companies – had still not been listed by the Commission, that the list would be kept confidential, and that no security clearance would be issued. The Chief Competition Economist has access to the entire European judicial strategy in the fight against abuses of dominant positions, and it was of course incongruous to ask the USA to ensure the probity of its own national. Appointing an American, and for the first time in the history of the European Union departing from the principle of appointing only citizens of the European Union to key administrative positions, was a mistake that seriously undermined the EU’s ambition for sovereignty.
OIP is grateful for the commitment of the French authorities, and first and foremost that of President Emmanuel Macron, who forcefully reiterated the importance of defending Europe’s strategic autonomy. From the outset, Minister Jean-Noël Barrot took up the issue, understanding all the stakes involved, and called for the appointment to be withdrawn. OIP also welcomes the exceptional mobilization of parliamentarians, civil society, and professional organizations.
The association now hopes that a new Chief Competition Economist will soon be appointed, and that the work accomplished by Margrethe Vestager and her teams in the fight against abuses of position by international digital giants will continue and intensify. The coming into force of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) is an important moment for the European digital industry, and OIP has high expectations of its implementation by the European Commission.
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