EU designated anti-trust commissioner vows to fight cartels

18:37, January 13, 2010      

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Joaquin Alumina, the would-be antitrust commissioner of the European Union (EU), has vowed to severely punish cartels and monopoly activities after getting his mandate in the European Commission.

While attending a confirmation hearing at the European Parliament here on Tuesday, Alumina said that he would continue to fight cartels, the worst type of antitrust offense and use EU rules to prevent monopoly abuses by big companies.

"For citizens, more competition means more ability to choose goods and services, better quality and lower prices," he said.

Almunia, who was formerly economy and monetary affairs commissioner, will succeed Neelie Kroes after his designation is confirmed by lawmakers in the European Parliament. Kroes has been famous for levying mega-fines to companies accused of monopoly, such as Microsoft and Intel Corp.

After the hearing, Alummia told reporters that he would continue to use fines as an "effective deterrent."

"The best recommendation I can give to companies is not to (engage) in anticompetitive practices so that they will not have to care about fines," the incoming commissioner said.

If considered as violating the EU's antitrust rules, companies could face fines as high as 10 percent of their annual revenue, which could mean billions of euros.

Last year, Intel was given a record EU antitrust fine of 1.06 billion euros (1.45 billion U.S. dollars) for abuse of dominant position to squeeze out competitor Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD).

Source: Xinhua
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