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EU: Vestager says breaking up companies is last option

 |  October 8, 2019

Europe’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday, October 8, she preferred to use fines or other penalties on rule-busting companies rather than break them up, saying that this approach would be less disruptive to the companies and the market, reported Reuters. 

Vestager is staying on in her job as European Competition Commissioner for another five years and now enjoys additional regulatory power to target the technology industry as part of a broader role ensuring Europe is fit for the digital age. 

According to Reuters, calls from critics and politicians to break up tech giants accused of abusing their position to squash competitors have intensified in recent months, especially in the United States.

Vestager, a former Danish economics minister, has gained a reputation as a tough enforcer, notably with a record fine totaling more than €8 billion euros (US$8.8 billion) on Alphabet unit Google for throttling rivals. 

Asked if she would consider breaking up companies that violate rules, Vestager told her confirmation hearing at the European Parliament that it was not her favored option. 

“Breaking up companies, well, this is a tool that we have available, it can be done. The thing is I have obligation to use the least intrusive tool in order to restore fair competition,” she told lawmakers in a packed chamber.

Full Content: Reuters

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