The European commission is not engaged in a trade war against US tech firms – its actions will benefit consumers worldwide

Let’s start by laying one falsehood to rest. In fining Google €2.42bn (£2.14bn), the European commission is not engaged in a form of underhand trade warfare against US technology companies. Instead, Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner, is addressing a central commercial question of the digital age: to what extent should companies like Google be able to exploit their dominance in one area to gain advantage in another?

Accusations of anti-American bias don’t hold water if one views the commission’s pro-competition patrols in aggregate. In other industries with different competition complaints, Brussels has been strong in dishing out fines against European firms. Just ask the truck makers – all European – who copped a collective €2.93bn fine last year for colluding on prices.

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