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American Economist Appointed to EU Resigns After Political Backlash

Hungary Today 2023.07.19.

Fiona Scott Morton of the US was recently appointed as the European Commission’s chief competition economist. Petra Halkó, senior analyst at Hungarian think-tank XXI Century Institute, gave an interview to Magyar Nemzet on the issue, saying that this is a power grab in the EU. Now, in a surprising turn of events, Fiona Scott Morton has decided to quit her new role.

The European Commission’s reasoning was that Morton was the most suitable candidate, and even despite the protests of Member States, most notably France, they underlined that the economist would not be removed from her post. According to Petra Halkó,

the fact that the new chief competition economist of a prominent European agency would be an American, is a clear sign that the European Union has ceded its decision-making autonomy to the financial world.

Fiona Scott Morton. Photo: Facebook/Fiona Scott Morton

Világgazdaság also reported on the case, saying that no one doubts Morton’s professionalism, as she is a respected economist. However, she has worked for some of the biggest technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon. She has also been suspected in the United States of protecting hidden interests when she was involved in the drafting of the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee report condemning Facebook and Google without saying that she had contracts with Apple and Amazon.

Halkó highlighted that

Europe has taken the American path, leading to serious economic difficulties and a complete loss of political representation of the people.

At the same time, the analyst pointed out that the infiltration of US and foreign interests into EU institutions is not a recent phenomenon. “In many European countries, but also in the EU institutions, we have seen for years how foreign interests have been infiltrating the decision-making process. Let there be no doubt that the trend we have seen so far will continue: nothing is too expensive for the financial powers to make their fortunes – especially not the fate of Europeans,” she pointed out.

Finally, Halkó concluded by saying that

the only and final option for Europe is for EU citizens to take back their right to decide.

It was mainly France who heavily opposed the appointment of the new chief competition economist. French President Emmanuel Macron said that he was skeptical about Morton, adding that the decision on her appointment was not coherent with the EU’s strategic autonomy goals. As a result of the heavy opposition, Politico reported on Wednesday that Morton has decided not to take up the position.

“Given the controversy that has arisen because of the selection of a non-European to fill this position, and the importance that the Directorate General has the full backing of the European Union as it enforces, I have determined that the best course of action is for me to withdraw and not take up the Chief Economist position,” Morton wrote in a letter published by European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, on Twitter Wednesday morning.

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Featured photo via Pixabay

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