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Labour MEPs have welcomed the record €2.42 billion (£2.14bn) fine from the European Commission against Google for abusing its dominant position over internet search, and warned that the UK must not become a deregulated, anti-competitive free-for-all after Brexit.

Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition, says Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors.

Google must now give “equal treatment” to rival comparison shopping services as its own Google Shopping service. It must comply to the Commission’s satisfaction or risk daily fines capped at around €12.5 million (£11m) a day.

Neena Gill MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on competition, said:

“British consumers are among the most affected by Google’s shopping cart cartel – since the beginning of the abuse in each country, Google's comparison shopping service has increased its traffic 45-fold in the United Kingdom, compared to 35-fold in Germany, 29-fold in the Netherlands, 17-fold in Spain and 14-fold in Italy.

“Meanwhile, traffic to rival comparison shopping services dropped significantly – there were sudden drops of traffic to certain rival websites of 85% in the United Kingdom, up to 92% in Germany and 80% in France. These figures starkly illustrate how Google has tried to rig the internet shopping service market in its favour, and show why it is vital the EU took action.

“Today’s ruling is another example of how the EU acts to protect consumers – especially, as the above stats show, online shoppers in the UK. We cannot have any reduction in this protection after Brexit. It is essential the UK cometition authorities have similar powers to that of the Commission, and act with the same determination and decisiveness.”

Catherine Stihler MEP, vice-chair of the European Parliament internal market and consumer protection committee, said:

“The Commission has been right to investigate Google to ensure the internet search market is truly competitive, and not rigged. Today’s record fine should send a warning to all companies in all fields to think twice before contemplating ripping off their customers.

“One of the great advantages of the EU is the Single Market of more than 500 million people, the world’s biggest free-trade area, bringing more customers for businesses and lower prices for consumers. To ensure it works, it is essential the Single Market functions properly, to the maximum benefit of companies and customers, and this can only happen with rules and standards that are applied fairly and uniformly.

“The EU has today shown once again that it takes competition issues seriously and will make sure nobody is above the law, no matter how dominant. After the UK leaves the European Union, it is vital we maintain the same high standards, and do not become a deregulated, anti-competitive free-for-all in which hard-working people get ripped off.”

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

As EU fines Google for ripping-off customers, Labour MEPs warn Brexit UK must not become a deregulation haven

Labour MEPs have welcomed the record €2.42 billion (£2.14bn) fine from the European Commission against Google for abusing its dominant position over internet search, and warned that the UK must...

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Theresa May’s offer today on EU citizens’ rights has come a year too late, is still too vague, and will amount to nothing if the UK, as she has repeatedly threatened, crashes out of the European Union with no Brexit deal, Labour MEPs have warned.

Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

“The referendum took place on June 23, 2016. Today is June 26, 2017. It has taken more than a year for Theresa May to make this vague, less-than-comprehensive offer – and even then, it will amount to nothing if we were to crash out of the EU without a Brexit deal, something the prime minister has repeatedly threatened.

“Looking at the small print, the government's offer is full of holes and threatens the rights of both EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in other EU countries. It will create yet further uncertainty.

“This situation could have been resolved had there been a strong and comprehensive offer, but instead the government has proposed cuts in rights by introducing income thresholds for family reunification. This will create greater uncertainty for both UK and EU citizens and take up limited negotiating time.

“The EU-27 made an early generous offer. Had the UK done the same by reaching a reciprocal arrangement the process could have been managed. Instead the three million EU citizens currently resident in the UK will see a reduction in their rights compared to the status quo, putting the rights of the 1.2 million British citizens who live in the rest of the EU at risk.

“Labour MEPs will continue to represent the voices of our constituents and hold the government to account, so that the rights of both UK and EU citizens are upheld.”

Monday, June 26, 2017

Labour MEPs: May’s offer on citizens’ rights is vague, a year late and will mean nothing if there is no Brexit deal

Theresa May’s offer today on EU citizens’ rights has come a year too late, is still too vague, and will amount to nothing if the UK, as she has repeatedly...

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Labour MEPs have condemned the government for failing to put forward legislation in the Queen’s Speech today that will guarantee EU citizens’ rights after Brexit – as UK and other EU citizens petitioned the European Parliament to safeguard their rights.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on petitions, said:

“It is absolutely disgraceful that the government has failed to put forward legislation in the Queen’s Speech that will guarantee the rights of EU citizens after Brexit. The three million EU citizens currently resident in the UK, and the 1.2 million British citizens living in the rest of the European Union are still being used as pawns in the Brexit negotiations.

“It must be a priority of the negotiations to ensure there is an early deal on the rights of citizens abroad - Brexit is about more than politics, it's about people, and it is unbelievable that Theresa May and the Tories are still treating them as bargaining chips. Were the government to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in Britain, it would not only be the right thing to do, but would almost certainly be reciprocated by other EU countries, giving peace of mind to the many British citizens facing similar circumstances in the rest of the EU.

“We have seen a high volume of petitions from British citizens who worry that an important part of their life will be taken away from them when Brexit is completed. Understandably so, as the UK government continues to do next to nothing to allay these concerns; it had been hoped the start of Brexit negotiations will provide more clarity and some concrete answers on life after Brexit, yet we are still waiting.

“Labour MEPs will continue to represent the voices of ordinary people and push the agenda in the European Parliament, so that not a single right is revoked. But the UK government must now follow suit, so that a deal that works for everyone can be secured. Theresa May says ‘no deal’ is a viable option – make no mistake, this would be disastrous, for the public, for the economy, for everyone.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Labour MEPs: Disgrace that Queen’s Speech fails to guarantee EU citizens’ rights after Brexit

Labour MEPs have condemned the government for failing to put forward legislation in the Queen’s Speech today that will guarantee EU citizens’ rights after Brexit – as UK and other...

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