By Dow Jones Business News, September 25, 2013, 11:45:00 AM EDT
By Frances Robinson
A decision by European Union antitrust regulators on Google Inc. ( GOOG ) is imminent, following a nearly three-year
probe into the search giant's behavior, the EU's competition chief said Wednesday.
"While the Federal Trade Commission settled with the company last March, we are at a crucial passage in our
discussions," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a speech in Washington DC. "We will not have to wait a
long time to see which of the routes will be chosen."
The European Commission recently received new proposals from Google on resolving antitrust concerns in online search.
The process could either be resolved under the process known as Article 9, which is legally binding but doesn't
acknowledge EU antitrust rules were broken, or be stepped up to full legal antitrust proceedings against the Californian
He also stressed the importance of pushing ahead with the EU-U.S. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,
which has had some problems recently, especially following revelations about the NSA reportedly spying on European
"It is clear that a successful outcome for these negotiations, difficult as they will be, will have a significant
impact on our economies," he said.
He added a free-trade partnership between the 28-nation EU and the U.S. could make things fairer in terms of
government subsidies, which Mr. Almunia said aren't covered well at multilateral level.
"Unfortunately, the World Trade Organization enforcement capacity in this area is still weak and the TTIP talks are an
opportunity for both sides of the Atlantic to seek common rules in these domains," he said.
Mr. Almunia highlighted the importance of working with the U.S. Department of Justice, with several large
transatlantic mergers coming up. "This is prompted by the signs of global recovery after years of crisis and
uncertainty, and a number of deals involve both Europe's Single Market and the U.S. market," he said.
Write to Frances Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org
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