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EU: Almunia slams ‘irrational’ political pressure on Google case

 |  October 16, 2014

European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia defended his work at the regulator and his investigation into allegations of anticompetitive conduct by Google, responding to criticism aimed at Almunia for his handling of the case.

Reports say Almunia slammed EU politicians’’ response to the Google investigation as “defensive” and “irrational,” leading the regulator to reopen the matter for a fourth time – an unprecedented action, he said.

Almunia faced significant backlash from politicians, Google rivals and consumer advocates for his plans to approve of Google’s third round of concessions earlier this year. That political pressure, he says, caused him to reject that deal for a fourth time.

”I don’t remember any case … that triggered … this kind of reaction, even of [a] smaller size,” Almunia said. “I don’t think antitrust investigations should be part of the conventional political debates.”

Almunia was speaking Tuesday at the Commission’s headquarters, say reports. The watchdog added that the response to the case likely reflects Europe’s growing fears that EU technology firms have fallen behind US rivals.

Almunia is set to leave his position at the end of the month, when his successor, Margrethe Vestager, will inherit the ongoing cases, including the investigation into Google.

Full content: Wall Street Journal

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