EU furious with Obama’s defence

Obama BarackThe European Commission is angry at US president’s Barack Obama claims that the EU was  intentionally setting up commercially-driven roadblocks to prevent US technology companies from operating here.

Obama claimed these roadblocks were put in place to stop US tech companies like Google and Facebook from doing business in Europe and competing fairly with homegrown rivals.

Instead, Obama praised the US companies for being “more commercially-driven than anything else” while the EU companies were rubbish because they could not really compete with the glorious US corporations.

Obama said that the US “owned the internet” and it was created by US companies. “And oftentimes what is portrayed as high-minded positions on issues sometimes is just designed to carve out some of their commercial interests.”

He said that the Germans “given its history with the Stasi” are very sensitive to [privacy] issues.

All this seems particularly dark when you consider that the roadblock appear to be antitrust investigations held by the European Commission against Google.

That sort of pro-corporate US Imperialism did not go down too well with the Europeans.  After all it was a British person who invented the world wide web.

A European Commission spokesperson told the Financial Times: “This point – that regulations are only there to shelter our companies – is out of line. Regulations should make it easier for non-EU companies to access the single market. It is in [US companies’] interest that things are enforced in a uniform manner.”

However, there is more to it than that. Pressure is mounting on the EU to do something about US companies’ tax avoidance efforts, as well as prevent companies from taking a monopolistic stranglehold of any one market.

Last year, Google was made to comply with Europe’s “right to be forgotten” which allows people to request their personal details are removed from the company’s search engine results.

Catalan MEP Ramon Tremosa told the FT: “President Obama forgets or maybe isn’t aware that among the dozens of complaints in the Google antitrust case, there are several US companies.”

Tremosa added: “Some companies, like [search engine] Yelp, have no problem going public. Others don’t want to attack Google only because they fear retaliation measures, such as demotion/exclusion and penalties supposedly applied by Google to some rival companies.”