Sat. Jul 20th, 2024
American Economist Turns Down Top EU Job as Macron's Criticism Reverberates

Brussels, July 20 (CNN) — The American economist who was selected to be one of the European Union’s chief economists has turned down the job, citing the political controversy that her appointment has stirred.

Fiona Scott Morton, a professor of economics at Yale University, was appointed to the position of Chief Economist in the Directorate-General for Competition last month. However, her appointment was met with criticism from French President Emmanuel Macron, who questioned why an American would be chosen for the job.

In a letter to the EU’s executive Commission, Morton said that she had decided to withdraw from the position “in the best interests of the European Union.” She said that she did not want her appointment to become a “distraction” from the Commission’s work.

“I am deeply disappointed that my appointment has become the subject of such controversy,” Morton said in the letter. “I believe that I have the skills and experience necessary to be an effective Chief Economist for the Commission, and I am confident that I could have made a significant contribution to its work.”

Macron’s criticism of Morton’s appointment has been seen as an attempt to assert France’s influence over the EU’s competition policy. The French president has been a vocal critic of the Commission’s antitrust investigations into major American tech companies, such as Google and Amazon.

Morton’s decision to withdraw from the position is a setback for the Commission, which is currently facing a number of challenges, including the rise of Big Tech and the ongoing trade war with the United States. The Commission is still searching for a replacement for Morton, and it is unclear when the position will be filled.

In a statement, the Commission said that it “regretted” Morton’s decision to withdraw, but that it respected her decision. The Commission said that it would continue to search for a “highly qualified” candidate to fill the position.

The controversy over Morton’s appointment has highlighted the tensions between the United States and the EU over economic policy. The two sides have been at odds over a number of issues, including trade, investment, and antitrust. The controversy is likely to further complicate relations between the two sides.

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