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Towards more effective EU merger control

Policy field

Competition: Merger control

Target group

Citizens, public authorities, organisations, and, in particular, the business community and their representatives, industry associations and consumer interest associations and national competition authorities who have had direct experience in applying the EU Merger Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 139/2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings, OJ L 24, 29.1.2004, p. 1).

Period of consultation

From 09.07.2014 to 03.10.2014

Objective of the consultation

The Commission is seeking views on possible improvements of the EU Merger Regulation contained in the White Paper "towards more effective merger control". The proposals in particular include:

  • A light and tailor-made review of those acquisitions of non-controlling minority shareholdings which could harm competition. Companies can acquire minority stakes in for example competitors and thereby influence their behaviour and reduce competition in the market. The EU's merger rules currently do not allow the Commission to examine these effects, while the rules of some Member States allow national authorities to do so, as well as rules prevailing in other major jurisdictions like the US or Japan. The envisaged reform would ensure that the Commission can examine those transactions which may raise competition concerns and have a cross-border impact within the EU. This would ensure that all sources of harm to competition are covered and establish a one-stop shop for these transactions. It would also not create a significant extra regulatory burden for businesses, since only transactions that appear to be problematic from a competition point of view would face review. Benign investments and restructuring efforts would not be covered.
  • Making case referrals between Member States and the Commission more business-friendly and effective. Under the proposals, the companies who notify a merger could more easily refer a case to the Commission through a simpler procedure. In addition, the rules for Member State requests to have a case reviewed by the Commission would become more streamlined, to avoid parallel investigations and better implement the one-stop shop principle. The new procedure would also allow Member States to better cooperate amongst themselves when they are not referring a case to the Commission.
  • Making procedures simpler. This can be achieved for example by excluding certain non-problematic transactions from the scope of the Commission's merger review, such as the creation of joint ventures that will operate outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and have no impact on European markets. Notification requirements for other non-problematic cases - currently dealt with in a 'simplified' procedure - could be further reduced, cutting costs and administrative burden for businesses.
  • Fostering coherence and convergence. The White Paper takes stock of the use of current EU merger control rules and proposes to reflect on ways to foster convergence between Member States with a view to enhance cooperation and to avoid divergent decisions in parallel merger reviews conducted by the competition authorities of several Member States.

How to submit your contribution

  • In your reply, please indicate whether you are replying as citizen, organisation or public authority. If your organisation is registered in the Transparency Register, please indicate your Register ID number. If your organisation is not registered, you can register now. It is not compulsory to be registered to reply to the consultation. Responses from organisations not registered will be published separately.
  • Contributions will be published on this webpage. Submissions that are clearly marked "confidential" will be treated as such and not published. In that case please also provide a non-confidential version of your reply. It is important to read the privacy statement attached to this consultation for information on how your personal data and contribution will be dealt with.
  • You are invited to respond to this consultation in any official EU language. Given the possible delays in translating comments submitted in certain languages, translations of the replies into one of the Commission's working languages (preferably English) would be welcome to enable the Commission to process them more swiftly.
  • We would appreciate receiving documents in an electronic format.
  • Please note that we cannot guarantee to take account of replies received after the deadline.

View the consultation document

Reference documents and other, related consultations

Contact details

Responsible service: DG Competition, Unit A2
Please always indicate the reference number in your correspondence: HT. 3053
E-mail address for replies: comp-merger-registry@ec.europa.eu



Protection of personal data Privacy statement


  
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