EU lawmakers to vote on
Google break-up motion on Thursday
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[November 24, 2014]
By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU lawmakers will
likely vote on Thursday on a motion proposing the break-up of Google and
other Internet technology companies, increasing political pressure on
the blocís antitrust regulators to take a stronger line on the group.
The parliament has no power to dismember a firm. But the vote,
underlining widespread concern among EU politicians about American
dominance of the Internet industry, would be a significant public
challenge to Google's business in Europe.
Andreas Schwab, a German Christian Democrat lawmaker at the European
Parliament, and Spanish liberal Ramon Tremosa unveiled a draft of
their resolution last week, saying separating search engines from
other commercial services would ensure a level playing field for
rivals in Europe.
The conservatives, liberals and socialists, who command a large
majority of the parliamentary seats, will work out a joint motion on
Tuesday and expect to debate the issue in parliament on Wednesday
and vote on it on Thursday, Tremosa's aide said on Monday.
European politicians and some competing companies have complained
that Google's dominance allows it to promote its own services at
rivals' expense, and attacked it on a range of issues including its
tax and privacy policies.
Google has regularly said it faces fierce competition in a
The parliament's proposal to the commission, if passed, would put
pressure on new EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager to
take a tougher line than her predecessor in resolving complaints
Vestager's predecessor, Joaquin Almunia, held four years of
investigations, triggered by complaints from rivals including
Microsoft. German publishing group Axel Springer has also complained
about Google's market power.
The European Commission has never ordered the break-up of any
company for anti-competitive practices.
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Kurt Lauk, the head of the pro-business wing of Germany's
conservative party CDU, which is also Schwab's party, criticized the
proposal to break up Google.
"Instead of exploiting the opportunities of the Web, some lawmakers
in the European Parliament are nursing their phobias," he told
Saturday's edition of German paper Handelsblatt.
"Threatening Google and other large Internet companies who are in
fierce competition with each other, is a loser's debate," Lauk was
quoted as saying.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Andrew
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