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Fairness and Competitiveness in a Digitised World

Short thesis

Competition can be fragile in this digital age. Opportunities to challenge powerful companies can be few. EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager will discuss the importance of ensuring that technology and markets serve people, not the other way round.

Description

The internet age has given rise to a few dominant corporations. Tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have revolutionized the way we navigate our world. However, their ascent poses a challenge to our society as their market power questions our idea of fair competition. No-one knows this better than the EU Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager. Over the past few years, she has handed out billions of euros in fines to tech companies for breaking European competition and tax rules.

Margarethe Vestager steers the EU's competition policy since 2014. As Commissioner, she has put the European Union at the forefront of the fight against the monopoly powers of Big Tech firms. Her 13 billion Euro record fine against Apple for receiving illegal tax benefits in Ireland made headlines around the globe and even riled US president Donald Trump, who reportedly gave her the moniker “tax lady”. However, opposition from across the Atlantic has not stopped Vestager from handing out additional billions in fines to Silicon Valley corporations. In the session, Vestager will discuss her work as competition chief and the challenges ahead in dealing with the tech companies. Should we create 'digital champions' in Europe to rival the US and China? Should we break-up tech oligopolies? And what political future does Vestager see for herself? The Commissioner will speak with journalist Alexander Fanta of the news site netzpolitik.org and answer questions from the audience.

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