Google will be forced to change the way it presents search results in Europe or face antitrust charges for “diverting traffic” to its own services, the EU’s competition chief has said, laying out a sharply different approach from his US counterparts.

In contrast to the Federal Trade Commission, which has given the all-clear to Google’s search engine, Joaquín Almunia vowed to prevent Google distorting choices for consumers and taking business from rivals.