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EU: New EU Competition Commissioner appointed

 |  September 10, 2014

A new head of competition at the European Commission was announced Wednesday.

The Commission’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker, announced the appointment of Margrethe Vestager, the former economy minister of Denmark, to succeed European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia later this year as competition chief. Almunia’s term ends October 31.

Vestager will inherit several high-profile competition cases that will remain unresolved when Almunia leaves his post. Those cases include investigations into JPMorgan Chase, Russia’s Gazprom and, perhaps most high-profile, Google.

Following the announcement of her appointment, Vestager spoke in Copenhagen, telling reporters that “the most important is that cases are treated with fairness and transparency.”

”No matter if you’re from Spain, Germany or somewhere else, it’s crucial that you feel that your case is dealt with in a fair and equal matter,” she said.

The Google investigation

Almunia confirmed Wednesday that the Commission will demand further concessions from Google to end an antitrust case that has lasted several years. His announcement confirms that he will not be able to close the case before his term ends, as he has previously hoped to do.

Vestager will now be tasked with resolving the matter.

Almunia appeared steadfast in accepting Google’s latest revised round of concessions to settle the dispute stemming from the way the company displays its search results. On Wednesday, the competition chief bowed to the most recent wave of criticism against the deal, confirming that the case will not be closed before he leaves office.

Soon after Juncker announced the appointment of Vestager and other EU Commissioners, the newly-appointed digital policy chief, Gunther Oettinger, spoke openly about the Google investigation.

While he is not directly responsible for resolving the matter, Oettinger spoke soon after his appointment was announced to warn Google that the company is facing a renewed crackdown from the EU with the new EU Commission staff.

Full content: Bloomberg

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