the The American economist who turned down a top job in Brussels After a backlash led Emmanuel Macron She criticized France’s “insecure” and xenophobic comments about her appointment.
Fiona Scott Morton said it was “totally wrong” for Macron to assume that “the country on the front of my passport” would influence her approach. Regulating US tech giants like Googleand facebook and Amazon.
“It is disturbing and sad that French society is so insecure that it rejects the idea of a principled American who wants to work for Europe,” she said, in her first interview since turning down the position of EU chief economist. to divide.
Ms Scott Morton also warned that political interference in technical appointments was “devastating to the independence of the European Commission”.
The Yale professor said he would Hindering the bloc’s ability to promote competition Putting consumers first.
“What’s really unfortunate is Macron’s view that the country on the front of my passport will determine my judgment or influence the way I make my decision,” said Scott Morton, who would have started as chief economist at the EU’s competition directorate on September 1. I will do the economic analysis.
“That was the sum of his objection to me at the end of the day. Of course, that is completely wrong in my case. He probably knows it is generally a bad way to select talent for an agency. France and Europe should be safe enough to think they have a job attractive to Americans.
The former US Justice Department official said she was “surprised” and “disappointed” by the reaction of politicians in France and the European Parliament.
Macron had called competition chief Margrethe Vestager’s decision to hire Scott Morton “suspicious”, questioning her work as an advisor to US tech giants Amazon, Apple and more recently. Microsoft in its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
“Isn’t there a European scholar who can do this job?” He told reporters last month.
Responding to the criticism, Ms. Scott Morton said most of her work with the tech giants was completed several years ago and was not “relevant” to current antitrust cases.
Ms. Scott Morton said she would have recused herself from cases that present clear conflicts of interest, including the Microsoft deal.
She said policymakers would always face a “trade-off” when deciding who to be appointed to an economic role from competition, with advice common in her industry.
“Governments have a choice,” she said. “They can hire someone who has never done any consulting before. So that’s someone who lacks a certain kind of working knowledge about how the job is supposed to work. If you want someone with that working knowledge, they should have done some consulting ( And he had) conflict.So there’s a trade-off between whether you want the experience that comes with some struggle, or no experience and no conflict.
Dame Scott Morton suggested that the political bickering in Brussels would dampen the European Commission’s efforts to enforce the groundbreaking Digital Markets Act.
The law, which goes into full effect next spring, requires big tech companies to do more to police the internet. It also gives Brussels the power to impose heavy fines for anti-competitive behaviour.
France has led a renewed protectionist campaign in the 27-nation bloc in recent years, pitting the head of the more liberal Danish competition, Ms. Vestager, against the French commissioner for internal markets, Thierry Breton. Ms Vestager is due to step down in 2024, while Britton is said to be eyeing the higher post he holds. Ursula von der Leyen.
While Ms. Scott Morton declined to comment on individuals on the commission, she said: “What we have learned from this conflict is that there are people in European government who are willing to put their desire for power before the welfare of the people.” .
“I think it’s a warning signal to Europe about how they’re going to handle these things, how they’re going to handle implementation, how they’re going to handle conflict between different member states who want different things, and is it really the French who want different things?” Will he allow them to decide the direction of the union themselves?”
Ms. Scott Morton, who was considered the best among the 11 candidates who applied for the position of chief competition economist, also indicated that Macron’s objection to her appointment was in the interest of the technology giants.
“To the extent he really wanted to limit the power of these dominant US platforms, the way to do that is to have a well-functioning European Commission that is allowed to appoint whoever they want and get on with the job,” she said.