EU: Antitrust chief Vestager gets another five-year term with more powers

Margrethe Vestager, the Danish politician who has taken on Apple, Amazon, and Google, will stay in charge of Europe’s competition rules and take charge of EU digital policy, reported the Financial Times. 

Appointed to an unprecedented second term as the EU’s Competition Commissioner, Vestager will also oversee EU digital policy and will have the job title of “executive vice-president, Europe fit for the digital age.”

Vestager, who said she was “happy for and humbled by the task ahead,” has been one of the most high-profile members of the current EU executive. Her competition job, in charge of vetting mergers and breaking up cartels, has always been a powerful position in the EU commission, and the Danish politician has won renown beyond Brussels by forcing Apple to pay €14 billion in unpaid taxes and fining Facebook for misleading regulators.

Under her new roles as both Commission executive vice president for digital and competition chief, she will have unprecedented power to direct how Europe tackles the dominance of Big Tech, promotes local players and sets rules for artificial intelligence and the use of big data.

Vestager has been given new powers to tap into the EU’s legions of bureaucrats in Brussels to both inform and set legislation. This access to her own staff and resources, including the bloc’s powerful and well-resourced competition authority, means that Vestager will have more power to direct policy than vice presidents in the previous Commission.

EC President-Elect Ursula von der Leyen said Ms Vestager’s expanded portfolio of digital and competition issues was a“perfect combination.”

“There is a huge field in front of her. The only aspect that matters on portfolios is quality and experience. Margrethe Vestager has done an outstanding job as a commissioner for competition,” she added.

Full Content: Financial Times, Europa

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