Home News Three questions about the controversial appointment of American Fiona Scott Morton to the European Commission

Three questions about the controversial appointment of American Fiona Scott Morton to the European Commission

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On Friday 14 July, the European Commission issued an inadmissibility appeal to the French government, demanding that it cancel the controversial hiring of American Fiona Scott Morton to regulate tech giants.

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However, the request from Paris was accepted by the leaders of the four main political groups in the European Parliament. They deplore both the risk of conflict of interest and the risk of interference from Washington with the rise of this former adviser and former Obama administration executive to a key position. We explain.

sequel after announcement

Who is Fiona Scott Morton and what will her role be?

A graduate of the prestigious Yale University and the great school of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, Fiona Scott Morton is a former executive director of the Obama administration. She is now an advisor to digital giants in parallel with her job as an economics instructor at Yale University.

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Fiona Scott Morton has been named the new Chief Economist in the Directorate of Competition and is expected to fill the position from 1 September. She will be the first American to hold the position. It will be responsible for ensuring the proper functioning of competition in the European Union and investigating in particular violations by digital giants that have led to record fines in recent years.

Why is this appointment controversial?

The announcement of Fiona Scott Morton’s appointment to this senior position sparked a lively debate within the European Union and the French political class. Elected officials from all political backgrounds have outlined her previous duties as chief of economic analysis in the US Department of Justice’s antitrust division, between May 2011 and December 2012, or as a consultant to major technology groups such as Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft.

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Jean-Noel Barrot, Minister Delegate for Digital Affairs, asked the European Commission “Reconsider your choice”Thursday, July 13. “As Europe embarks on some of the world’s most ambitious digital regulations, the DG Chief Economist has recently been appointed [direction générale] Competition is not devoid of asking legitimate questions.The minister stressed in a tweet.

sequel after announcement

Twitter – Jean-Noel Barrow on Twitter

“Digital regulation is a major issue for France and Europe. This designation deserves to be reconsidered by the Committee.”For her part, on Thursday evening, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna responded on Twitter. Fiona Scott Morton has been recruited “scandal”for his part, denounced the Green MEP Yannick Gadot, and also asked Ursula von der Leyen To revoke this immoral appointment..

Twitter – Yannick Gadot on Twitter

On Friday evening, Medef linked its voice to this cross-party initiative, the French employers’ organization that denounced “naivety, indifference or even contempt for European public opinion” From the Brussels administration.

sequel after announcement

On the same day, the leaders of the four largest political groups in the European Parliament asked the Commission to drop the appointment of Fiona Scott Morton. We have learned with alarm of the appointment of Ms. Fiona Scott Morton as Chief Economist in the Directorate General of Competition., write the heads of the EPP (right-wing), S&D (Social Democrats), Renew (centrist and liberal) and Greens groups, in a letter dated Friday addressed to the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager. condemn a “Potential conflict of interest between his new role and his previous roles in major US technology companies”.

How did Brussels respond?

Brussels opposed this request as an end to the refusal. During the daily press briefing on Friday, UNHCR spokeswoman Dana Spinant said so “The decision has been made. We see no reason to reconsider it.”.

The committee confirmed that it had complied with its recruitment rules. Dana Spinant explained that the procedure was launched in February and opened from the start to non-EU citizens in order to have a broader choice of a very specific type of skill. In total, only 11 applications were received for the position, and it was detailed in Brussels.

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Employment a “A recognized expert in economic and competition issues of non-European nationality shows that the Commission seeks above all to base its decisions on the best possible expertise and this is a sign of competence and openness”said the speaker.

The committee also proportioned the responsibilities that Fiona Scott Morton would have. “It is not a position in which a person is empowered to make decisions, it is an advisory position.” With Margrethe Vestager, confirmed Dana Spinant. “The Committee carefully considered whether it had a personal interest that might impair its independence.”it was announced, before adding that the new chief economist would not be “She is not involved in the files she worked on or that she was aware of in her previous employment.”.

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