Articles & interviews 2011
Interview with El Periódico:"El reparto de los sacrificios para poder salir de la crisis resulta injusto"
Published 19 April 2011
Interview with El Correo:"España se ha ganado la confianza de los mercados en los últimos meses"
Published 17 April 2011
Article: 20 years of EU merger control: billions saved for consumers and comanies alike
"For 20 years now the European Union has had a "one stop shop" for mergers and acquisitions with a European dimension. When the system was set up, there were those who said "the Commission will never manage" and "they'll never be able to make decisions quickly enough for business". Two decades later, we have examined more than 4500 cases, most (88%) of which have been analysed and approved in a month. The second phase analysis, which can last four to five months, is only needed where we fear a significant reduction in competition.
The Mergers Regulation has saved business a considerable amount of money, by allowing them to report their tie-ups to a single body. In one go, they get a green light to access a market of 500 million people. If this one stop shop didn't exist, companies would have to notify the authorities in each separate EU country, with all the cost implications in terms of 26 sets of lawyers' fees, translations and so on. If each case involves on average four different countries, then that is 18,000 national procedures that have been avoided. That's quite a saving.
In examining each case, the Commission's primary responsibility is to defend the interests of the EU's consumers. Expert studies suggest that just in the last year, the Commission's control of mergers has saved consumers between £3.7m and £5.3m. Of course, figures can be argued over. But there can be no doubt that ensuring a choice of products and services at competitive prices is a good thing that contributes to economic growth and employment opportunities.
We are always open to suggestions as to how the process could be improved. I'm keen to improve the way we work with national competition authorities in EU countries, who are responsible for mergers with a limited geographical scope, and also with non-EU countries. It is in the interests of all that there are clear, comprehensible, and above all fair rules."
Interview with Mr José Rivas, World Competition Editor
Reprinted from World Competition Law and Economics Review, volume 34, issue 1, March 2011, pp. 1-10, with permission of Kluwer Law International