American Fiona Scott Morton appointed chief economist at the European Commission – RT in French


American Fiona Scott Morton appointed chief economist at the European Commission – RT in French

The European Commission has appointed the American Fiona Scott Morton as chief competition economist. The arrival of this former anti-trust official of President Barack Obama questions the influence of the United States in Brussels.

It is a personality from outside Europe who will deal with competition issues in Europe: by appointing Fiona Scott Morton as chief competition economist at the Commission, Brussels is acquiring an expert but also opening the way to criticism in terms of independence of the European institutions.

This former top anti-trust official in the Obama administration has a well-stocked CV. After passing through Yale University and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), she was responsible for conducting competitive investigations on Gafam, namely Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft.

The control of American companies on European markets will thus be entrusted to one of their compatriots. Fiona Scott Morton will also be responsible for managing mergers and acquisitions involving, again, mainly American giants.

Conflict of Interest Concerns

The Commission’s choice to recruit a non-European element in a sensitive area such as competition has already raised questions. The Belgian newspaper L’Echo mentioned in an article published in June that “six organizations” had questioned the European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager in May on such recruitment, which according to her constituted a “conflict of interest”.

Indeed, Fiona Scott Morton assisted Microsoft in the acquisition of video game publisher Activision and worked for Apple and Amazon. The economist has been regularly questioned about her ties to companies like Apple and Amazon, with whom she has signed confidentiality agreements. Fiona Scott Morton had justified herself, declaring in 2020: “I work with companies that I am convinced follow the law”.

The American influence does not exist. Fiona Scott Morton, an economist ?? who served as a top antitrust official under former President Barack Obama, has been appointed Chief Competition Economist at the European Commission ?? – So the rumor was true

— Adrien Mugnier (@AmugnierNRS) July 12, 2023

Fiona Scott Morton has been very critical of Google and Facebook by proposing solutions to impose compliance with competition standards on digital giants. Specializing in the digital sector, in 2019 she launched the “Digital Economy and Trade Project”, a project that aims to facilitate economic understanding of the digital market. This project is housed at the Tobin Center for Economics, a neo-Keynesian structure favorable to state intervention in the economy. Very well introduced in the university environment, she is also at the origin of the Thurman Arnold project at Yale, which aims to bring together academics and students to pool research on competition and anti-trust law.

Scheduled for September 1, the change of position with the current chief competition economist, the Belgian Pierre Régibeau, could provoke strong reactions within the European Parliament.

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