The European Union’s competition rules are absurd and need to be overhauled, according to France’s Europe affairs minister, Nathalie Loiseau. She pointed to the difficulties facing Alstom and Siemens over their planned rail business merger.

“I’m not criticizing the (European) Commission for applying the rules … But these rules are absurd and were set up in the 20th century and we’re in 2019,” Loiseau told LCI television on February 3.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, the European Commission is set this week to block the tie-up, a deal which Loiseau has said is necessary to let them compete against a much bigger Chinese rival.

Loiseau said Paris was still trying to convince the commission why the merger was needed to be more competitive against large international rail groups.