European Union (EU) Current Affairs

EU slaps Google with 2.42 billion euros Fine

The European Union’s competition watchdog has fined Google a record 2.42 billion euro for breaching the anti-trust rules by illegally favouring its shopping service. The European Commission regulates EU competition rules.

Salient Highlights

According to the European regulators, Google has abused its market dominance by offering an illegal advantage to its another product, its comparison shopping service.

The fine of 2.42 billion euro is the biggest fine for a single company in an EU antitrust case. It exceeds the 1.06-billion-euros slapped on Intel in 2009. EU’s action has come after a 7 year-long investigation from the complaints received from Google’s rivals such like Yelp, TripAdvisor, UK price comparison site Foundem, News Corp and lobbying group FairSearch.

The EU has asked Google to stop its anti-competitive practice in 90 days or be prepared to face penalty payments up to 5% of Alphabet’s average daily worldwide turnover.

Time Line

November 2010: The EU opened its formal inquiry to ascertain whether  Google manipulates search results in a way that favours its own business.

April 2013:  Google came forward to change its practice in the hope of ending the EU investigation.

July-December 2013: EU rejected Google’s offer to change its search results as not good enough.

February 2014: A tentative agreement was reached between the EU and Google on how to fix the search results.

May 2014: In a separate case, the European Court of Justice had asked Google on the plea of EU citizens’ to remove irrelevant or embarrassing personal information that is being served on a search of their names.

September 2014: Acting upon the complaints of Google’s competitors, the EU made a U-turn on its settlement with Google on search results.

April 2015: EU formally charged Google and opened a preliminary investigation to ascertain whether Google used its Android mobile operating system to rig the market for apps.

June 2017: The EU has slapped Google a record 2.42 billion euros ($2.72 billion) for breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service.

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EU decides to lift ban on import of mangoes from India

European Union (EU) has decided to lift seven-month-long ban on the import of mangoes from India. In this regard, a European Commission committee unanimously voted to lift the ban.

The ban was lifted after an audit carried out by the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office in India in September 2014.

This audit had showed that India world’s biggest producer of mangoes have made significant improvements in the phytosanitary export certification system of mangoes.

Background

  • EU had imposed temporary ban on import of mangoes from in 1 May 2014 after authorities in Brussels found consignments of the premium Alphonso mangoes infested with fruit flies.
  • Along with Alphonso mangoes they also had banned import of 4 vegetables- aubergines, bitter gourds, snake gourds and patra leaves.
  • They had imposed ban citing the reason that fruit flies from these consignments may damage European salad crops.

However, it should be noted that EU has not lifted ban on these 4 vegetables and will be reviewed at later stage after collecting more evidence.

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