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European Monopoly? EU Parliament Urges Regulators to Break Up Google

BRUSSELS — European Union lawmakers have overwhelmingly backed a motion urging antitrust regulators to break up Google. The non-binding resolution approved Thursday by the European Parliament is the strongest public signal yet of Europe's concern with the growing power of U.S. tech giants. The resolution is a largely symbolic protest vote without immediate impact. But it was approved with a large majority — 384 votes to 174, with 56 abstentions — showing widespread political backing. Andreas Schwab, German conservative lawmaker and co-sponsor of the bill, said it was a political signal to the European Commission, which is tasked with ensuring a level playing field for business across the 28-country bloc. "Monopolies in whatever market have never been useful, neither for consumers nor for the companies," he said. Google declined to comment.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has said she will review the case and talk to complainants before deciding on the next step. Her predecessor rejected three attempts by the company to settle complaints that it unfairly demoted rival services. EU Digital Economy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said the resolution was "an important expression of opinion" but he added the EU was far from tearing digital multinationals apart. "I don't think, at the end of the day, that the breaking up as such is what we can expect," Oettinger said. "Rather we are talking about the consistent and correct implementation of EU legislation to ensure that the interests" of EU businesses and consumers are maintained.

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— The Associated Press and Reuters