Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager answers questions from lawmakers about considering giving top cabinet posts to Americans.
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Europe’s mighty head of competition, Margrethe Vestager, has come under fire for hiring an American for one of her team’s top jobs.
Vestager, who has been leading big tech research for almost a decade, said Tuesday after appointing Yale School of Business professor Fiona Scott Morton as chief competitive economist at the EU’s legislative body, the European Commission. To answer questions from members of parliament. arm.
The harshest criticism comes from French government officials. France’s European Commissioner Lawrence Boone said on Twitter that he had discussed the nomination with Vestager, adding: “Europe has a lot of talented economists.”
“We have engaged in dialogue with the Commission without delay to ensure that the appointment is in line with our European ambitions,” he said.
Jean-Noël Barraud, French Minister for Digital Transition and Telecommunications, also tweeted: “At a time when Europe is embarking on the world’s most ambitious digital regulation, the Directorate General’s chief economist was recently appointed. That’s great,” he said. [directorates-general] Competition is a natural question. ”
“I encourage the European Commission to reconsider its choice,” he added.
A spokesperson for the commission, contacted by CNBC, highlighted past comments made by the Brussels institution when it announced its appointment, saying: “Fiona Scott Morton is an expert in economic analysis and competition policy. With a strong academic background and decades of experience in the industry, he has a deep understanding of market dynamics and regulation.” Framework. ”
“Her track record in advising government agencies highlights her ability to provide strategic and informed guidance on complex economic issues, and her ability to provide strategic and informed guidance on complex economic issues, as well as economics related to policy development and enforcement of competition rules in the EU. very good at advising on social aspects.”
Scott Morton holds a BA from Yale University and a PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also worked as an economic analyst for the US Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division from May 2011 to December 2012. But one of the biggest issues raised is her experience in consulting for big tech companies.
A group of European lawmakers wrote to Mr. Vestager last week, saying they were “sorry” about the appointment.
“We are very concerned about the opposing views she has publicly expressed and the potential conflict of interest between her new role and her previous duties at a major US technology company,” they said. said in a letter. a member of parliament on Twitter.
A spokeswoman for the commission previously said it had received “a limited number of applications.” Scott Morton will assume his new role in September.