Written by 8:06 pm European Union

The EU’s Anti-Competition Assault on American Businesses

In the past few months, the bureaucrats in the European Commission have released several rulings stifling successful American companies from providing their full services to European customers. The European Commission, led by the President of the European Union Ursula v.d. Leyen and her 26 commissioners have sought to target several successful American companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google and even a merger between US based gene-sequencing companies GRAIL and Illuminia. They claim these antitrust rulings is to promote “competition” within the European markets and protect their citizens personal data. The General Data Protection Regulation has placed not only a barrier of entry into the European market, but also between businesses and the consumer in selling products. This is before the finalization and passed of both the Digital Market Act and Digital Service Act, which will expand cases for the European Commission to intervene to crackdown on “gatekeepers” or “illegal” content. In reality, this is will only continue the downward spiraling of the European economy entering recession.

Amazon and Apple have each faced fines regarding the European Commission’s desire to choke American competition in the European market. The European Commission claims that each of these companies are “engaging in anti-competitive practices” to promote their own products. In fact, these generic brands are cheaper than name brand items, allowing the consumer to save money as prices globally are on the rise. Amazon’s antitrust case and fines brought forth by the European Union are to coerce Amazon to supporting their anti-market purgatives. This has culminated in Amazon and the European Union officials negotiating to, as it did in 2017 when complaints were filed for “unfairly excluding rivals” in their kindle marketplace. Apple is facing similar allegations regarding its App store 30% commission following a complaint from Spotify.

Apple is now under investigation by the European Commission for their alleged abuse in music streaming store. Spotify claims that the Apple app store enforces a so called “closed ecosystem” due to their app store and software restrictions. This is due to Apple’s policy of relying on in-house development and supplying customers with ready-made settings already provided for the customer instead of relying on third-party applications to cover software faults like other phones. Apple also charges a 30% commission on its App Store, creating rumors of supposed abuse by Apple in “…its dominance in the music streaming space”. Spotify, a company founded in Sweden, filed the complaint against the American based tech company.

The European Commission has even intervened in mergers outside of the European market. GRAIL and Illumnia, both focusing in genome sequencing by receiving customer’s blood samples for “blood-based early cancer detection tests”. These two companies currently lead the West in cancer prevention innovation and have announced GRAIL and Illumnia are merging. These two companies, both headquartered in California, has been blocked by the European Commission. This is because Illumnia wouldn’t wait for the European Union to greenlight, resulting in a violation of the EU Merger Regulation which imposed a fine of 10% to each corporation’s annual global turnover and halted the merger process. The current negotiations have revealed that Illumina offered concessions, including “price cuts and giving rivals continued access to its technologies” but has not yet concluded between the European Union and the Illumnia/GRAIL executives. Though these two companies have a presence within the European market, the European Commission seeks to rid itself of American competition within the European Union. The European Union is abusing its overzealous antitrust laws and these successful American-based companies, along with the European Union citizens suffer under these policies.

The worst of European antitrust intervention is the case of Portugal’s antitrust case against Google. Google has long been the target of antitrust action by the overzealous EU courts, being brought to court now over three times and fined a combined 8 billion euros. Now, this most recent Portuguese case has the European Union interests, sparking interference. The original Portuguese case centered around a complaint sent to the Portuguese Competition Authority (AdC) and probed shortly after. The complaint focused on “the market for publisher ad servers and the market for supply-side platforms, which allow publishers to manage the advertising space on their websites and to sell it through auctions or agreements with advertisers”, which means Google utilizes its own search engine to assist consumers with important financial decisions. Google is the most utilized search engine across the world, making up 83.84% of all engines used globally. To deprive their own citizens of such a useful tool to promote “competition” will have the inverse effect. The citizens of European will suffer at the hands to the European Commission for restricting access to vital services that benefits both their wallets and economy.

As the global economy teeters on the edge of recession, the assault on vital services provided by successful American companies will only worsen in the coming economic recession and innovation.

This is not a recent development, as the European Commission has opposed mergers of all kinds since the mid-1990s. The blocking of mergers, including fines, by the European Commission’s has been a thorn in American companies. Fines are used by the European Commission to dissuade companies from merging without the consent of the European Union, even if these companies are not in headquartered in Europe. The most recent is the Illumania/GRAIL merger, but a similar case was brought against DaimlerChrysler in 2001. Google, in a recent ruling by the Commission, must pay $5.1 billion to the European Union, as they’ve been found in breach of European laws. The European Union, through its Commission, has long seen American businesses as a threat, yet their “anti-competition” rulings have yet to bear fruit in any European competitors.

These companies provide services which benefit the European citizens, contrary what the European Commission claims. Amazon, Apple, Google and the soon-to-be merged Illumnia/GRAIL have thousands of products to offer the citizens of Europe. With the current energy crisis and supply chain issues that Europe faces, the overzealous, antitrust abusing, European Commission seeks to exacerbate these problems. For the benefit of both the European market and people, the European Commission must cease their anti-American pursuits to ensure the ongoing recession throughout Europe doesn’t worsen their wallets.

The European Commission does not seek to improve any competition with its own market. Instead, the Commission desires to destroy the market share of those successful businesses headquartered in the United States. The reasons are twofold. American businesses dominate most European markets, creating a perceived unfairness surrounding American businesses in the European market. To make up for this shortfall, the European Commission believes that disrupting the relationship between consumers and businesses will somehow create European industries to compete against America’s. In reality, the friendly relationship between Europeans’ and Americans becomes strained, as successful American businesses will not be able to provide for their European customers. The current lack of European industries will not cover the deficit in Europe’s market. To ensure our long-standing relationship doesn’t become hostile, the European Union must halt this unjustified assault on flourishing American companies.

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