European Commissioner for Competition

The Commissioner for Competition is the member of the European Commission responsible for competition. The current commissioner is Margrethe Vestager (ALDE).

European Commissioner
for Competition
Vestager 520 2012-04-16
Margrethe Vestager

since 1 November 2014


The portfolio has responsibility for such matters as commercial competition, company mergers, cartels, state aid, and anti-trust law. The position became the sole merger authority for the European Economic Area in September 1990.

The Competition Commissioner is one of the most powerful positions in the Commission and is notable in affecting global companies.[1] For example, notably preventing the merge of two US companies, General Electric and Honeywell, in 2001.[2] In 2007, Neelie Kroes (then-Competition Commissioner) was the only Commissioner to make Forbes Magazine's List of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women; she held position 59.[3]

Past commissioners

Mario Monti (1999–2004)

Mario Monti
Mario Monti

Mario Monti is particularly notable for his ruling during the GE-Honeywell merger attempt in 2001. General Electric, a US company, sought to acquire another US company, Honeywell. This merger had been approved by US authorities, however Monti, with the backing of the rest of the Commission, rejected the merger;[2]

The merger between GE and Honeywell, as it was notified, would have severely reduced competition in the aerospace industry and resulted ultimately in higher prices for customers, particularly airlines. However, there were ways of eliminating these concerns and allowing the merger to proceed. I regret that the companies were not able to agree on a solution that would have met the Commission's competition concerns.

Rather than be blocked from the European market, the merger was abandoned. This was the first time that a merger between two US companies had been blocked solely by European authorities,[4] only the second time it had blocked just two US companies and only the 15th merger it had blocked ever since it started work.[2] On 1 May 2004 Monti oversaw a radical change in the Competition powers of the Commission concerning anti-trust regulation, merger controls, licensing agreements and air transport.[5]

Neelie Kroes (2004–10)

During Neelie Kroes' hearing at the European Parliament, MEPs expressed concern about whether Ms Kroes had a sufficiently detailed grasp of certain specific subjects, but was approved as part of the Commission in 2004.

Since then she states that she promotes a fair and free business environment, achieving sustainable economic growth and higher employment. The Commission has been involved in a number of high-profile cases fighting anticompetitive behaviour; such as the case against the merger of SonyBMG, against Apple Inc. regarding iTunes[6] and the ongoing case against Microsoft.

Neelie kroes
Neelie Kroes

The latter has been an ongoing dispute on a number of issues, in April 2007 Microsoft became the first company to refuse to comply with the Commissions rulings, in response Commissioner Kroes is looking at more harsher methods to gain the co-operation of companies; "We have never, ever before encountered a company that has refused to comply with commission decisions ... We learned we may have to look for a more effective remedy."[7] In September 2007, the Court of First Instance (EU's second highest court) upheld the Commission's decision to fine Microsoft 497 million euro and its order for to Microsoft for it to share its information setting what the Commission described as an "important precedent". Kroes stated that "Today's court ruling…shows that the Commission was right to take its decision, and right to take firm action to enforce that decision". Either party may appeal to the European Court of Justice.[8] In response to the ruling the US Justice Departments top antitrust official, Thomas Barnett, criticised the ruling which sparked a response from Kroes stating that "It is totally unacceptable that a representative of the US administration criticises an independent court of law outside its jurisdiction ... It is absolutely not on. The European Commission does not pass judgement on rulings by US courts and we expect the same degree of respect from US authorities for rulings by EU courts."[9]

Kroes holds a strong belief in free market principles and was tough with offenders. By the time her term as Competition Commissioner ended, she had completed most major cases.[10]

Joaquín Almunia (2010–14)

Joaquín Almunia, previously the Finance Commissioner, took on the competition portfolio under the second Barroso Commission in 2010 and was expected to have a tenure similar to Kroes' stringent run.[10] His appointment was welcomed by competition lawyers as someone well qualified and experienced.[10] He also impressed Parliament at his hearing and early on in his work has had to deal with whether or not to pursue action against Google.[11] He has also come out in favour of the idea of a European Monetary Fund to deal with defaulting member states.[12]

List of commissioners

Name Country Period Commission
1 Hans von der Groeben  West Germany 1958–1967 Hallstein Commission
2 Maan Sassen  Netherlands 1967–1971 Rey Commission
3 Albert Borschette  Luxembourg 1971–1972
Malfatti Commission
Mansholt Commission
Ortoli Commission
4 Raymond Vouel  Luxembourg 1976–1981 Jenkins Commission
5 Frans Andriessen  Netherlands 1981–1985 Thorn Commission
6 Peter Sutherland  Ireland 1985–1989 Delors Commission I
7 Leon Brittan  United Kingdom 1989–1993 Delors Commission II
8 Karel Van Miert  Belgium 1993–1994
Delors Commission III
Santer Commission
9 Mario Monti  Italy 1999–2004 Prodi Commission
10 Neelie Kroes  Netherlands 2004–2010 Barroso Commission I
11 Joaquín Almunia  Spain 2010–2014 Barroso Commission II
12 Margrethe Vestager  Denmark 2014–present Juncker Commission

See also


  1. ^ Lungescu, Oana (23 July 2004). "Examining the EU executive". BBC News. Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  2. ^ a b c The Commission prohibits GE's acquisition of Honeywell
  3. ^ 100 Most Powerful Women Forbes
  4. ^ Honeywell CEO's job reported on line after takeover is rejected
  5. ^ The EU gets new competition powers for the 21st century Archived 28 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Brussels Accuses iTunes of Violating Competition Rules
  7. ^ Microsoft dispute a lesson, EU says
  8. ^ Microsoft case sets precedent, says Brussels EU observer
  9. ^ Spongenberg, Helena (20 September 2007) US remarks on Microsoft ruling 'unacceptable', says Kroes, EU Observer
  10. ^ a b c Who’s who in the new Commission, Financial Times November 2009
  11. ^ Accusations will test new commissioner, Financial Times
  12. ^ EU’s Almunia Says EMF Would Be a Long-Term Solution (Update1) Business Week

External links

1976 in Luxembourg

The following lists events that happened during 1976 in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. v. Intel Corp.

AMD v. Intel was a private antitrust lawsuit, filed in the United States by Advanced Micro Devices ("AMD") against Intel Corporation in June 2005.


Almunia is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Joaquín Almunia, Spanish politician and current European Commissioner for Competition

Manuel Almunia, Spanish footballerAlmunia is also the name of an Italian electronic music duo.


Within the European Union, a directorate-general is a branch of an administration dedicated to a specific field of expertise.

The European Commission: Commission Directorates-General are each headed by a director-general, who reports to the European Commissioner in charge of (i.e. politically responsible for) the corresponding policy area;

The European Patent Office: EPO Directorates-General;

The Secretariat of the European Parliament: Parliament Directorates-General.

The General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union: Council Directorates-general.

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The post was enlarged from the Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society portfolio in the Prodi Commission to include Industry.


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Frans Andriessen

Franciscus Henricus Johannes Joseph "Frans" Andriessen (born 2 April 1929) is a retired Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).

In 1967 he was first elected to the House of Representatives for the Katholieke Volkspartij (KVP). From 1971 to 1977 he was leader of the KVP. In 1977, the KVP merged with two protestant parties to form the Christen-Democratisch Appel (CDA). For the CDA, he served as Minister of Finance (1977–1980) and European Commissioner for Competition (1981-1985), Agriculture (1985-1989), and External Relations and Trade (1989–1993). He is one of few politicians to serve three consecutive terms as an EU Commissioner.

Google Shopping

Google Shopping, formerly Google Product Search, Google Products and Froogle, is a Google service invented by Craig Nevill-Manning which allows users to search for products on online shopping websites and compare prices between different vendors.

Originally, the service listed prices submitted by merchants, and was monetized through AdWords advertising like other Google services. However, in May 2012, Google announced that the service (which was also immediately renamed Google Shopping) would shift in late-2012 to a paid model where merchants would have to pay the company in order to list their products on the service.In June 2017, Google Shopping was fined a record €2.4 billion by the EU Commission for giving its own online shopping services top priority in search results.

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Joaquín Almunia Amann (born 17 June 1948) is a Spanish politician and formerly, prominent member of the European Commission. During his tenure in the two Barroso Commissions, he was European commissioner responsible for economic and monetary affairs (2004-2009) and, subsequently, vice-president and the European Commissioner for Competition (2009-2014). Previously, he had been Spanish Minister for Employment (1982-1986) and Public Administrations (1986-1991). From 1997 to 2000, he was the leader of the opposition as secretary general of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, standing in and losing the 2000 Spanish general election against the then incumbent Spanish prime minister, José María Aznar.

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Maan Sassen

Emmanuel Marie Joseph Antony "Maan" Sassen (11 September 1911 – 20 December 1995) was a Dutch politician, who served as European Commissioner for Competition in the Rey Commission from 1967 to 1971.

Margrethe Vestager

Margrethe Vestager (Danish pronunciation: [mɑgʁæːˀdə ˈvɛsdæːˀɐ]; born 13 April 1968) is a Danish politician serving as the European Commissioner for Competition since 2014. She previously served as a member of the Folketing from 20 November 2001 until 2 September 2014, representing the Danish Social Liberal Party (Radikale Venstre). She was the political leader of her party from 2007 to 2014, and served as Minister of Economic Affairs and the Interior from 2011 to 2014. She has been described as "the rich world’s most powerful trustbuster."

Neelie Kroes

Neelie Kroes (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈneːli ˈkrus]; born 19 July 1941) is a retired Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).Kroes a businesswoman by occupation, was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives on 3 August 1971 after the election of 1971. After the election of 1977 a coalition agreement with the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy resulted in the formation of the Cabinet Van Agt-Wiegel with Kroes asked to become State Secretary for Transport and Water Management taking office on 28 December 1977. After the election of 1981 she returned as a Member of the House of Representatives on 25 August 1981. After the election of 1982 a coalition agreement with the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy resulted in the formation of the Cabinet Lubbers I with Kroes asked to become Minister of Transport and Water Management taking office on 4 November 1982. Kroes remained Minister of Transport and Water Management in the Cabinet Lubbers II following the election of 1986. Kroes semi-retired from active politics and became Chancellor of the Nyenrode Business University serving from 1 June 1991 until 1 September 2000. In 2004 Kroes was selected as European Commissioner for Competition in the First Barroso Commission taking office on 22 November 2004. On 9 February 2010 she became European Commissioner for Digital Agenda and a Vice President in the Second Barroso Commission serving until 1 November 2014.At age 73, Kroes retired from active politics. Following the end of her active political career, Kroes occupied numerous seats on supervisory boards in the business and industry world and several international non-governmental organizations (Merrill Lynch, McDonald's, Lucent, Nedlloyd, Ballast Nedam,, Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, Nederlandse Spoorwegen and the Rembrandt House Museum).Kroes is known for her abilities as a team leader and negotiator. Kroes also has been active as an advocate and lobbyist in promoting startup companies.

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Peter Denis Sutherland (25 April 1946 – 7 January 2018) was an Irish businessman, barrister and politician who served as UN Special Representative for International Migration from 2006 to 2017, Chairman of Goldman Sachs from 1995 to 2015, Director-General of the World Trade Organization from 1993 to 1995, European Commissioner for Competition from 1985 to 1989 and Attorney General of Ireland from 1981 to 1982 and 1982 to 1994.

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Sutherland was the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration until March 2017. Appointed in January 2006, he was responsible for the creation of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). He served as President of the International Catholic Migration Commission, as well as member of the Migration Advisory Board of the International Organisation for Migration.

Sutherland previously served as Attorney General of Ireland (1981–84), European Commissioner responsible for Competition Policy (1985–89); Founding Director-General of The World Trade Organization, formerly GATT (1993–95), and former Chairman of Goldman Sachs International (1995–2015). He received numerous awards including European Person of the Year Award (1988).

Raymond Vouel

Raymond Vouel (8 April 1923 – 12 February 1987) was a Luxembourg politician. Vouel was Deputy Prime Minister in the Thorn-Vouel cabinet, a coalition between Vouel's Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party and Gaston Thorn's Democratic Party. On 21 July 1976, Vouel left the government to join the European Commission as Commissioner for Competition.

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