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@Websummit Vestager talks digital taxation, antitrust and tech giants

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@Websummit Vestager talks digital taxation, antitrust and tech giants

In both her speech and at the press conference that followed the message was that the main inspiration of Vestager's work is to ensure a level playing field for companies aimed at fostering innovation. 
 
She explained that competition is what makes us learn, what pushes us towards achievements that we did not know were attainable.

“I have no problem with Google dominating the market of search engines” she said, “success is an inspiration and I am sure that all of you would love to be as successful as Google”.

She added that on the other hand, Google  shares with the other big companies the responsibility to not use that power to close down competition and innovation as a consequence. Vestager recalled that when Google decided to act upon the fact that “their comparison service was not doing very well”, their competitors suddenly appeared only from the 4th page on average in search results. 
 
Also mergers have a potential to undermine competition, particularly when they result in big companies sharing the wealth of data they have access to, what can make it more difficult for innovative businesses to make it into the market. Vestager explained that this was her fear when in December  2016 Microsoft completed the acquisition of LinkedIn: she investigated and found that the combination of the two companies’ pool of big data did not give them an excessive advantage. 
 

Vestager press conferenceVestager press conferenceVestager then approached the issue of digital taxation, saying openly that countries directly stifle innovation and competition when they choose to grant selective tax services to some companies and not all of them, what makes it impossible to compete in equal terms. She insisted that the fact that a company is incorporated outside of Europe is not relevant and value generated in the EU should be taxed in the EU. She expects a new approach to digital taxation to be finalised as soon as next spring. 

The Commissioner concluded the press conference taking a picture of her audience, after dutifully asking whether we all consented to the use of our image on her social media channels. 

Author

Elena Perotti's picture

Elena Perotti

Date

2017-11-08 14:57

Author information

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