The head of a German commission tasked with presenting reforms has proposed a two-stage review of mergers. The idea is to examine competition issues and broad public interests like security and the impact on consumers.
The decision comes in response to the European Commission’s veto of efforts by Siemens and Alstom to create a European rail champion to compete with larger foreign rivals.
“One could imagine that an authority examines the competition issues, and then one could, for example, apply to the EU Commission for a ‘commission permit’, which also takes into account the wider public interest,” Achim Wambach, who heads the German commission, also head of Germany’s Monopolies Commission, told Reuters.
Together with France, Germany is pushing for a reform of EU competition rules to take a more global rather than solely European view of mergers and potentially to allow EU ministers to have a say.
“In my opinion, there would have to be a European Monopolies Commission which would work with the European Commission,” Wambach said.
“The process must be as transparent and objective as possible. The basis for this should always be an appraisal that provides information about the effects on public welfare. And then decisions would be made on that basis,” he added.