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HomeBusinessU.S. Economist Declines Top EU Antitrust Job Offer After Backlash

U.S. Economist Declines Top EU Antitrust Job Offer After Backlash

American economist Fiona Scott Morton has withdrawn from her appointment as the European Commission’s chief competition economist, the Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said here on Wednesday.

“Professor Fiona Scott Morton has informed me of her decision to not take up the post as chief competition economist,” Vestager said on her Twitter account.

“I accept this with regret and hope that she will continue to use her extraordinary skill-set to push for strong competition enforcement,” she said.

On social media, Vestager published a letter she had received from Scott Morton announcing her decision following the outcry sparked by her appointment, given that she was a non-European.

Vestager faced a backlash at the European Parliament over her decision to pick the 56-year-old former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Justice during President Barack Obama’s tenure.

If Scott Morton took up the post of chief economist of the EU’s antitrust unit, the arm currently running probes into U.S. tech giants, she would advise the European Commission on its investigations into Big Tech as well as on how it could beef up the enforcement of rules.

French President Emmanuel Macron was among those who criticized the decision, in fear that this appointment would potentially impact the bloc’s sovereignty. However, Vestager had defended her decision with European lawmakers, citing the U.S. economist’s professional experience in the antitrust field. The backlash, however, forced Scott Morton to turn down the post.

She wrote to Vestager that she would not take up the position “given the political controversy that has arisen because of the selection of a non-European to fill this position.”

“I have determined that the best course of action is for me to withdraw and not take up the Chief Economist position,” she added.

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