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Controversial American Appointment Sparks Scandal

(Brussels) The appointment of an American, a former executive of the Obama administration, to a key post in the European Commission linked to the regulation of American technology giants has sparked outrage in France.

The EU executive announced on Tuesday that Fiona Scott Morton, professor of economics at Yale University, had been chosen as the new chief economist at the Directorate General for Competition. This service is responsible for ensuring the proper functioning of competition in the EU and for investigating in particular the abuses of the digital giants which have resulted in record fines in recent years.

The news sparked outrage in the French political class, across all parties.

Elected officials have notably pinned his former functions as head of economic analysis at the antitrust division of the United States Department of Justice, between May 2011 and December 2012, or as a consultant for large technology groups such as Apple and Microsoft.

The appointment comes at a time when the EU must implement ambitious new legislation to regulate this sector and feeds criticism against the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, considered to be very Atlanticist.

“Hiring an American GAFAM lobbyist at a time when Europe was finally deciding to limit their power is a shame. This appointment is clumsy at best, dangerous at worst. In any case, the Commission must give it up, ”conservative MEP Geoffroy Didier (Les Républicains) told AFP. “In Brussels, when you take a lobbyist out the door, he comes back through the window,” he castigated.

The Macronist deputy for Paris, Benjamin Haddad, pinned “an inexplicable decision”. “No European citizen had the required skills? “, he wondered on Twitter.

“Shipwreck of the so-called “European sovereignty” and annexation of our continent by the North Americans. It is beautiful their Europe! exclaimed Jean-Luc Mélenchon (radical left).

The leader of La France insoumise attacked Ms. Von der Leyen, whom he accused of having appointed “an American woman” to a “key position in European industrial policy”.

Same tone on the far right. “The EU no longer hides from being a colony of Washington! “, protested Florian Philippot, president of the Patriots.

“We have worked hard to regulate the GAFAMs, it is not to entrust the application of these rules to their lobbyist. No way,” said centre-left MEP Raphaël Glucksmann.

Ecologist Claude Gruffat considered that this appointment amounted to bringing “a wolf into the sheepfold”.

This article is originally published on lapresse.ca

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