European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia nears end of term with landmark decisions lingering with Google and Gazprom

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Feb 03, 2014 11:09 AM EST

The antitrust czar of the European Union, whose wide-ranging powers has pitted him against some of the global economy giants, only has a few months left before his term ends, Reuters reported. With the time he has left, the report said European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia intends to decide on the abuse allegedly committed by search engine giant Google of its dominant market positions as well as Russian gas monopoly Gazprom.

Although Almunia's term is set to be finished in November, insiders in Brussels said extra work could sidetrack him after some of his colleagues in the European Commission would leave their posts in April to contest the election of the European Parliament, the report said.

This would mean that Almunia would only have a few weeks to either come to an agreement with Google and Gazprom in exchange for their pledge to change their ways or to send them formal charges, the report said.

A senior EU official who refused to be named because of the confidential nature of competition regulation, told Reuters that Almunia seemed ready to come to an agreement with Google after refusing the first two rounds of concessions from the search giant.

However, the official said that Alumnia is most likely going to file charges against Gazprom for discriminating among its clients in Europe on the price which its gas is sold. The decision will have to be handled by Alumnia's successor who Moscow hopes will be more considerate, the report said.

The authority of the competition commissioner remains recognized even if the crisis in the Euro Zone has lessened the political sway of Europe and diminished the clout of EU executives in worldwide negotiations related to trade and climate change, the report said.

Alumnia, who has been in his post since 2009, can stop mergers that undermine competition, prevent governments from giving cash to industry, compel companies to pay back illegal state aid and levy huge penalties on cartels that fix prices and corporations that abuse their dominance in the market, the report said. 

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