Thursday

19th Sep 2019

EU anti-trust chief 'hates' US, Trump says

  • Competition commisioner Margrethe Vestager ordered injunction on Broadcom's 'exclusivity contracts' (Photo: Tambako the Jaguar)

US president Donald Trump has accused EU anti-trust chief Margrethe Vestager of "hating" the US after she opened a case against another American tech giant.

"You have a woman in Europe [Vestager], I won't mention her name ... she hates the United States perhaps worse than any person I've ever met," Trump said on a talk show by the Fox News broadcaster on Wednesday (26 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • US president Donald Trump (r) with outgoing European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker

"What she does to our country. She's suing all our companies ... They [the EU] are suing Apple for billions of dollars. They're suing everybody," he added.

"They make it almost impossible to do two-way business," he said.

He spoke after Vestager earlier the same day in Brussels accused US microchip-maker Broadcom of breaking EU rules.

"We suspect that Broadcom ... has put in place contractual restrictions to exclude its competitors from the market," she said.

"This would prevent Broadcom's customers and, ultimately, final consumers from reaping the benefits of choice and innovation," she added.

Her complaint alleges Broadcom forced modem and TV set-top box makers to buy its components under "exclusivity contracts" and Vestager is seeking to freeze the agreements "to avoid ... risk of serious and irreparable harm to competition".

The US company denied wrongdoing, saying "it complies with European competition rules" and "the commission's concerns are without merit".

The Broadcom case comes after Vestager went after US tech giant Apple, software firm Google, and chip-maker Qualcomm in recent years.

She forced Apple to repay €14bn in state aid. She fined Google €8bn for abusing online dominance and she fined Qualcomm €1bn.

The Danish liberal has made her name on the world stage as the EU's iron lady and is in the running to be the next European Commission president.

EU regulators have also voiced concern on data privacy at Google and US social media giant Facebook.

And a French consumer group, UFC Que Choisir, filed a lawsuit in Paris against Google also on Wednesday, opening up a new front.

The group wants Google to pay €1,000 each to 200 users who say it violated their rights under the general data protection regulation, a landmark EU law.

The US firm said: "We have high standards for transparency and consent [on use of private data] based on both guidance from regulators and robust user testing".

But the symbolic fine could become huge if a Paris court ruling paves the way for millions of other users to go after the company.

The trouble in the tech sector comes amid broader EU-US friction on free trade after Trump imposed tariffs on some EU exports.

It also comes amid a general slump in US relations after Trump walked away from other EU-brokered deals on nuclear arms control and climate and verbally mauled Europe and its leaders on several occasions.

Trump added on Fox News on Wednesday that something ought to be done to curb the tech firms' growing power, however.

"We should be suing Google and Facebook, and all that, which perhaps we will," he said, claiming a US prerogative to regulate US firms.

Online retailer Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google "should be sued", Trump said.

Analysis

How should the EU handle Russia now?

Should West help Russian opposition in its struggle against the regime, or make new deals with Putin, as France is keen to do?

Central European leaders demand Balkan EU accession

Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia have demanded to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania this year, as Hungary's man prepares to take over the enlargement portfolio.

Just 5% of Europeans trust Trump

European voters believe that EU's foreign policies should be more coherent and effective in order to remain neutral in potential international conflicts, since most EU citizens no longer rely on the US security guarantee, according to a new report.

News in Brief

  1. Kovesi has 'sufficient majority' for prosecutor post
  2. France, Finland give UK ultimatum for Brexit plan
  3. Minsk talks bode ill for EU's peace summit on Ukraine
  4. Poll: Poland's nationalist rulers to win October election
  5. Irish lawyers clash with EU commission in Apple case
  6. NGOs take aim at EU smartphone pollution
  7. EU adds €100m to research and Erasmus budgets
  8. Ambassador: UK Poles should 'seriously consider' leaving

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants
  2. Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'
  3. A new Commission for the one percent
  4. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'
  5. Germany adopts blockchain strategy and says no to Libra
  6. Revanchist Russia continues to rewrite European history
  7. How EU trains discriminate against the disabled
  8. These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us