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Google case and Luxleaks feature in European Parliament’s annual competition report

10 March 2015

Google case and Luxleaks feature in European Parliament’s annual competition report

The European Parliament has today adopted a report by European Conservatives and Reformists MEP Morten Messerschmidt on EU Competition Policy, including the EU’s competition investigation into Google, and the ongoing investigation surrounding tax practices in certain EU states.

The European Parliament has today adopted a report by European Conservatives and Reformists MEP Morten Messerschmidt on EU Competition Policy, including the EU’s competition investigation into Google, and the ongoing investigation surrounding tax practices in certain EU states.

The report stresses the importance of a strong competition policy in the EU as the basis of removing barriers to the single market and protecting the interest and choice of consumers. It also expresses regret that after four years of investigation the Commission has not shown any demonstrable results in the Google case and allegations of the preferential treatment of its own services in displaying results of search queries. The report says that the Commission must urgently resolve this case in order to maintain credibility in its digital agenda.

On the ‘Luxleaks’ issue, Mr Messerschmidt has stressed that the commission’s competition investigation should be dealt with speedily and in an independent manner.

Speaking before the report’s adoption, he said:

“Competition policy is like the Highway Code of the internal market. If we do not agree on clear rules then there will be chaos.

“The European Commission is right to investigate whether certain countries have broken these rules by providing preferential tax treatment. This must be handled as a competition case and the commission needs to produce an independent assessment swiftly. The Lux Leaks revelations should not be used to pursue EU-wide tax harmonisation, and we were pleased that we were able to remove this from the final report. This problem must be tackled within competition policies and state aid rules.

“The report calls for the Commission to finally conclude the long-running Google case. I am not seeking to put Google in the dock, but we have seen several initiatives and four years pass and we have yet to resolve this case. The credibility of the Commission’s digital strategy is on the line if it fails to ensure competition infringements in fast-moving and dynamic digital markets are not tackled swiftly.

“A strong competition policy must be at the core of all of the EU’s major priorities if we are to create the conditions for a more competitive economy.”

Notes: read the report tabled to the plenary here:

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