EU opens investigation into Qatar Petroleum over potentially restrictive gas contracts

Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy, during a recent press conference in Brussels / Berlaymont. (Copyright: EU, 2018 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart)

Last week, the European Commission has announced it has opened a formal investigation against Qatar Petroleum over supply agreements that appeared to be restrictive for European buyers. In particular, the EU watchdog’s probe was launched to assess whether supply agreements between Qatar Petroleum, the bloc’s biggest sea-borne gas supplier, and European importers of liquefied natural […]

Google prepares to final EU judgement over Android antitrust case

A final word on the thorny EU vs Google case over Android antitrust charges could arrive as soon as next month, according to people familiar with the matter. Late last week, Reuters announced that the EU antitrust investigation into Google’s operative system Android could be on the way of concluding shortly, and that the American […]

The EU Commission approves UTC’s acquisition of Rockwell Collins under conditions

A geared turbofan at Pratt & Whitney's production hub in West Palm Beach (copyright: Pratt & Whitney - a UTC Company- 2018; Source: Pratt & Whitney's website, media center)

Last week, the European Commission approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Rockwell Collins by United Technologies Corporation (UTC) in the aerospace sector. The EU watchdog clarified that the decision is conditional to the divestment by UTC of businesses in actuators, pilot controls, ice protection and oxygen systems, which is something that UTC has […]

“A global threat lies ahead worsened after the EU’s green light to the Bayer-Monsanto merger”, a Sting Exclusive by the President of Slow Food

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Carlo Petrini, founder and President of Slow Food, a global, grassroots organization, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions and counteract the rise of fast food culture. The opinion expressed in this piece belongs strictly to the writer and does not necessarily reflect The […]

Fake news and Freedom of Press: can the EU ever find the fine line?

The European Commission attempts to tackle disinformation which is spread online by building up strategic measures in the EU. Last January, the EC assigned to a High Level Expert Group (HLEG) to define the problem and propose concrete recommendations on how it can be dealt. The report which was completed last month sets this issue […]

EU and U.S. castigate Facebook on Cambridge Analytica scandal as citizens’ data privacy goes down the drain again

Last Monday, the European Commission sent a letter to Facebook asking whether EU citizens were involved in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The EU is taking the turn from U.S. which has already opened an investigation to find out how Facebook permitted data breach of 50 million users. Facebook has been experiencing fierceful attacks both by […]

The EU clears Bayer-Monsanto merger amid wide competition and environmental concerns

Bayer’s cross at night (Copyright: Bayer AG)

Last week, the European Union formally gave its approval to Germany multinational company Bayer’s $62.5 billion acquisition of US-based Monsanto. Bayer AG, leader in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, got one step closer to take over the world’s largest seed company, after agreeing to bolster BASF SE by selling to it seeds, pesticides and digital […]

EU starts in-depth investigation of Linde-Praxair merger over competition concerns

The Linde Group Logo (Source: The Linde Group website, Press Services, 2018)

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess a proposed merger between German industrial gases group Linde and US peer Praxair Inc., under the EU Merger Regulation. The official announcement came last Friday, as the Commission said it has concerns “that the merger may reduce competition in the supply of several crucial gases, […]

Will Qualcomm avoid Broadcom’s hostile takeover post the 1 bn euro EU antitrust fine?

The EU antitrust fine to Qualcomm comes as the latter attempts to avoid the 105 billion dollar hostile takeover by competitor Broadcom which keeps on biding higher and higher. Qualcomm seems to be in serious pressure as several fines have been imposed on the company for market dominance abuse and there are plenty of cases […]

The EU launches € 1 billion plan on supercomputers and tries to catch-up with competitors

Last week the European Union announced one of the biggest investment plans on digital to date. With an official statement, the European Commission unveiled its plans to spend € 1 billion on supercomputers, to boost the bloc’s competitiveness and to catch-up with other international superpowers. The plan, whose aim is to develop Europe’s own exascale […]

Amazon, Luxembourg and Ireland hit by EU’s latest turn of the screw over competition

Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, in Brussels - Berlaymont, last week. (Copyright European Union, 2017 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Lukasz Kobus)

Last week, the European Commission has ordered Amazon to pay a 250 million euros ($293 million) bill in back taxes to Luxembourg, as a consequence of “undue tax benefits”. The Commission also announced that it is planning to take the Irish government to European court over its failure to recover €13bn in unpaid taxes from […]

Knowledge management and entrepreneurship: short term vs. long term perspective

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Adrien Lepic, the Secretary General of the European Confederation of Junior Enterprises (JADE) for the 2017/2018 term (JADE). The opinion expressed in this piece belongs to the writer and does not necessarily reflect The European Sting’s one. In the business environment, there are new challenges everywhere and […]

EU’s Finance Ministers draft plan to raise tax bills of online giants like Google and Amazon

Digital multinationals such as Amazon, Facebook and Google may face higher tax bills in the European Union as a new plan for harmonised tax treatment of online companies has been discussed by EU Finance Ministers on Saturday. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire led the initiative and claimed on Friday nearly one third of EU […]

Europe’s top court hears Intel and sends € 1.06 bn antitrust fine to review

Last week the European Court of Justice, Europe’s highest court, ruled that US chipmaker Intel’s € 1.06 billion ($1.26 billion) antitrust fine be re-examined by a lower court. The ECJ found that the General Court, which upheld the hefty fine imposed on Intel by the Commission for abuse of a dominant position in the market, […]

Brussels Vs. Google: The €1 bn EU fine and the US response

The European Commission is about to impose more than one billion euros fine to Google as a result of online shopping service search abuse according to the Financial Times. If the above is implemented, it would be the highest penalty in the history of anti-competitive behavior after Intel’s case in 2009. The repercussions for Google, […]

EU Council agrees to reform the system for motor vehicles but with “restricted” power for the Commission

It was last Monday when the EU ministers gathered in Brussels to draft new rules to prevent future emissions cheating from the automotive companies after the VW emissions scandal. The Council of Ministers from 28 countries proposed rules for cutting down the national authorities’ power giving at the same time the ability to the European […]

EU and Amazon cut deal to end antitrust investigation over e-books deals

Last week the European Commission has communicated its decision to formally accept commitments by US tech giant Amazon to end an EU antitrust investigation over contracts with e-book publishers. The Seattle-based company has proposed to drop some clauses in its contracts that required publishers to inform about terms offered to the company’s competitors and to […]

EU to give more power to national antitrust authorities in a bid to secure regulatory fines

Last week, the European Commission has proposed a new set of rules to give national antitrust authorities more power and resources against anti-competitive practices. The proposed rules, which followed a public consultation that was launched last year, are intended to make the bloc’s national competition agencies more autonomous but also more reactive against multinational firms […]

VW emissions scandal: While U.S. car owners are vindicated, Europe still unable to change its laws and protect its consumers

Volkswagen, the giant German automaker, has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in a Detroit federal court last Friday to conspiracy to defraud the U.S., commit wire fraud, and violate the Clean Air Act, obstruction of justice and import violations. However, VW still denies compensating European car owners arguing that a ‘technical fix’ can make cars […]

Digital Single Market: New EU rules for online subscription services

EU Regulators have found last week an agreement on new rules concerning online content portability, allowing EU citizens to access online subscription services with no restrictions while travelling within the Union. The new rules will practically end the so-called “geo-blocking tactics”, and will enable European consumers to access services such as Netflix, Sky’s Now and Spotify […]

EU’s tougher privacy rules: WhatsApp and Facebook set to be soon aligned with telcos

With an official statement, the European Commission last week published its proposal to reform the existing European online privacy rules. Companies such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Google will face tougher rules on the tracking of users under a wider update of the e-privacy directive, which will also impact cookies regulation. The EU says the new […]

How did Facebook fool the Commission that easily during the WhatsApp acquisition?

The European Commission announced yesterday that a Statement of Objections was sent to Facebook accusing the company of providing incorrect or misleading information during the investigation under Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp. The aforementioned information was that Facebook had initially reassured the EC that it was not possible to match the user accounts of Facebook and WhatsApp. However, […]

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

Last Thursday Google officially responded to the antitrust charges by the European Union relating to its shopping search and AdSense. Having been given an extra week to formally respond to allegations by the Commission, Google produced the strongest reply of its give-and-take history with European Regulators. The US technology giant this time is hitting back […]

An American duel in Brussels: Salesforce against Microsoft over Linkedin deal

When earlier this year Microsoft snapped up the world’s headlines by announcing it would have acquired LinkedIn with a colossal $26.2 billion deal, everyone was already preparing for the shockwaves this move would have generated. Last week, US cloud computing company Salesforce.com  openly urged European Union regulators to block the acquisition over unfair competition concerns. […]

Deutsche Bank again in the middle of the US-EU economic skirmishes

The US government is reacting in many ways against the fine in back taxes of €13 billion which the European Commission imposed on Apple. Firstly, Jack Lew, the American Secretary of the Treasury, accused the EU of grabbing tax incomes which belong to the US. On 31st August he said, “What’s not appropriate is for, […]

EU is now giving Google new monopolies to the detriment of European citizens and Internet companies

This article was exclusively written for The Sting by Mr Joe McNamee, Executive Director of  EDRi, the Brussels-based association of civil and human rights organisations from across Europe that defends rights and freedoms in the digital environment. There is a lot of noise in the press and among lobbyists about an alleged hostility of the EU towards big American internet […]

EU’s guidelines on net neutrality see the light although grey areas do remain

Last week will not only be remembered for the world-record fine imposed to Apple by the European Union and the Hutchison-VimpelCom merger in Italy. There was also space for some important news on net neutrality. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), which is the regulating agency of the telecommunication market in the […]

Can the EU really make Google and Facebook pay publishers and media?

According to a number of media outlets of the Old Continent, the closing weeks of this summer will try to bring a major reform in the European publishing industry. As revealed last week by the Guardian and the Financial Times, the European Commission is working on a plan to give news publishers the right to demand […]

VW emissions scandal: EU unable to protect its consumers against large multinationals

  European governments and officials seem incompetent to protect on the one hand their car consumers and on the other the environment, despite the crucial role Europe played in the climate change agreement that was signed last December in Paris. VW’s diesel emissions scandal has revealed so far that the multinational framework in Europe is much more beneficial for […]