France vs. Brussels for appointing an American to a key post
The French authorities, but also the political and economic class, have been outraged by the appointment as Chief Economist of the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission of the American Fiona Scott Morton, who in her career has worked for internet giants.
The last of the reactions furious against the decision of Brussels to put a woman who has earned millions of dollars in a key position in the action against oligopolistic practices from some of the companies that have been signified by these practices was this Saturday that of the employer.
In a statement, the French Business Movement (Medef) considers that, regardless of Scott Morton’s nationality, “the fact that have worked for US technology companies and then for the United States Department of Justice in the antitrust division, it should have led the Commission services to more prudence”.
The main French organization recalls that it was the same Defense department that “relying on the contestable principle of extraterritoriality and the supremacy of the dollar” which “has condemned a large number of European and French companies”.
Cases of BNP Paribas or Airbus
explicitly quote the cases of BNP Paribas or Airbus, punished with hundreds and even billions of dollars of financial sanctions, and suggests that in the meantime that same authority “usually” avoided doing the same with US companies.
That is why it joins the initiative of various groups in the European Parliament, such as Renew (of French President Emmanuel Macron), the European People’s Party (EPP), the PSOE or the Greens, which They have demanded that the EC rectify it.
Something that had also been requested, without success, on Thursday by the French Foreign Minister, Catherine Colonna, who in a Twitter message had shown her “astonishment” at the election of Scott Morton. “Digital regulation is a key challenge for France and for Europe” and for this reason “this appointment deserves to be reconsidered by the European Commission”.
The French head of European Affairs, Laurence Boone, who was chief economist at the OECD, echoed the same line with a tone of irony, noting that “Europe has many brilliant economists.”
Those responsible for Eurosceptic or directly anti-European parties in France, such as Marine Le Pen or Jean-Luc Mélenchon, have not missed the opportunity to launch depth charges against Brusselswhich they practically accuse of acting as a fifth column against the Europeans whom they must defend.
Le Pen has said that placing this American in that relevant position is “proof that this Europe is not European at all and that it does not work in the service of the interests of the peoples and nations of Europe”. Mélenchon has denounced what he has described as “the annexation of our continent by the North Americans”.
The EC, through the mouth of a spokesperson, has limited itself to responding that there is “no reason to reconsider” the appointment of Scott Mortonalthough he has pointed out that for two years he will not take care of the companies for which he has worked, which in any case are among the ones that generate the most litigation in terms of monopolistic practices.