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France: Gov wants major change in EU merger rules

 |  February 12, 2019

According to the Financial Times, Paris has called for the biggest shake-up of EU merger rules in 30 years, as it responded to last week’s decision by Brussels to block the partnership between German and French train manufacturers Siemens and Alstom. French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, who has expressed anger at the decision by the European Commission to veto the merger, on Tuesday, February 12, called for the creation of “European industrial champions,” reported the FT.

While Brussels warned that the combined company of Siemens and Alstom would have been overly dominant in signaling and high-speed trains on the European market, Paris has slammed the rules as a relic of the 20th century that risks handing technological supremacy to China.

Speaking alongside German finance minister Olaf Scholz in Brussels on Tuesday, Mr Le Maire put forward a three-point plan of rule changes, saying he would discuss it further with Berlin in the coming days.

The proposals include giving EU national leaders the right to overturn the Commission’s merger decisions, and equipping Brussels with the ability to approve a merger but subsequently to force the combined company to make divestments if competitive problems emerged.

Full Content: Financial Times

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