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Public consultations

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.

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:

Replies to the consultation

Summary of replies

Public authorities
  • Austria - Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Wirtschaft und Bundesministerium für Justiz de
  • Austria – Austrian Federal Competition Authority de en
  • Belgium - Belgian Competition Authority en
  • Bulgaria - Commission on Protection of Competition en
  • Denmark - Danish Competition and Consumer Authority en
  • Finland - Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority en
  • Finland - Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy en
  • France - Autorité de la Concurrence fr
  • France - Permanent Representation fr
  • Germany - Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie & Bundeskartellamt de en
  • Ireland - Irish Competition Authority en
  • Italy - Italian Competition Authority en
  • Netherlands - Ministerie van Economische Zaken nl
  • Norway – Royal Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheriesen
  • Poland - Polish Office for Competition and Consumer Protection pl
  • Slovak Republic - Antimonopoly Office en
  • Spain - Spanish Competition Authority en
  • Sweden - Swedish Parliament, Committee on Trade and Industry en
  • United Kingdom - UK Competition and Markets Authority en
  • United Kingdom - Department for Business Innovation & Skills en
Registered organisations
  • Association Française d'Etude de la Concurrence (AFEC) fr
  • Association Française des Entreprises Privées (AFEP) en
  • American Chamber of Commerce to the EU en
  • Assonime en
  • Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie de
  • BusinessEurope en
  • Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Région Paris - Île-de-France fr
  • CEZ Group en
  • City of London Law Society Competition Law Committee en
  • Confederation of Finnish Industries en
  • Confindustria en
  • Dansk Biotek en
  • ENEL Group en
  • EuropaBio en
  • European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association en
  • GlaxoSmithKline and SR One en
  • Impala en
  • Japan Business Council in Europe en
  • The Law Society of England and Wales en
  • Mouvement des Entreprises de France en
  • Siemens AG de
  • UniCredit en
Non-registered organisations
  • Aer Lingus en
  • Allen & Overy en
  • Alternative Investment Management Association Limited en
  • American Bar Association - Sections of Antitrust Law and International Law en
  • Ashurst en
  • Association des Avocats Pratiquant le Droit de la Concurrence fr
  • Austria - Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour de
  • Baker & McKenzie en
  • Berwin Leighton Paisner en
  • Bosch en
  • Cadwalader en
  • Cisco, Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics en
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton en
  • Competition Law Forum en
  • Clifford Chance en
  • CompetitionRx en
  • Confederation of British Industries en
  • Confederation of Swedish Enterprise en
  • Covington & Burling en
  • Danish Shipowners' Association en
  • Dickson Minto W.S. en
  • European Competition Lawyers Forum en
  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer en
  • Herbert Smith Freehills en
  • Hogan Lovells en
  • IBA Antitrust Committee en
  • International Chamber of Commerce en
  • In-House Competition Lawyers' Association en
  • Institute of Economic and Social Studies en
  • Lithuanian Free Market Research Instituteen
  • Linklaters en
  • LK Shields Solicitors en
  • Merger Streamlining Group en
  • Norton Rose Fulbright en
  • Olswang en
  • Orange fr
  • Philips en
  • Pinsent Masons en
  • Ryanair en
  • Shearman & Sterling en
  • Simmons & Simmons en
  • Studienvereinigung Kartellrecht de
  • Total en
  • Van Bael & Bellis en
  • Vinge en
  • WilmerHale en
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