Ignoring the strongly-worded protests of their American counterparts, members of the European Parliament supported a motion Thursday urging EU regulators to separate search engines from commercial businesses.
In a 384 to 174 vote, with 56 abstentions, the EU passed non-binding legislation aimed squarely at Google, although the resolution does not actually name the American tech giant.
Although Parliament itself cannot enforce such a law, it is now putting the pressure on the group that can: the European Commission.
It is urging the Commission to probe the practices of search engines to “prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services by operators of search engines.”
The European Parliament is also asking the regulatory agency to consider “proposals with the aim of unbundling search engines from other commercial services” over time.
In essence, the resolution suggests splitting Google’s search engine operations in Europe from the rest of the company to end its “monopoly” of the market.
Even though Parliament can’t enforce its legislation, the overwhelming support it received is sure to anger the American politicians who wrote letters to EU politicians asking them to reconsider their position on the matter.
Several members of Congress, in a joint letter to EU politicians, said if parliament’s motion were to be adopted by the European Commission, it would deter “continued innovation and investment” from American Internet companies.
A second letter, this time from the chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte called the resolution that is in the works “troubling.”
Google, according to a recent report from Business Insider, is furious over the EU Parliament’s resolution, especially seeing as the tech company was working with the European Commission to settle a four-year-long investigation into the company’s practices. Google was accused by the EU of using its monopoly of the market to give its own products and services prominence over that of its competitors.
Newly-appointed European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said earlier this month that she is mulling over how to handle the issue. Vestager, who took over from Joaquin Almunia at the beginning of the month, said she planned to examine the opinions of parties involved in the case and check on the latest developments in the sector before taking any action.
She added that the investigation would only be about competition issues despite pressure from critics that it should be expanded to include data privacy and media pluralism.
If European Union regulators are not satisfied with Google’s next round of concessions, the company could be slapped with a $5-billion fine.