Monti unveils details of his upcoming merger review

Addressing a conference in Brussels on 7 November, Competition Commissioner Mario Monti unveiled some details of his plans to reform the EU’s antitrust rules. More transparency and better access to the Commission’s dossier, an extended timeframe, an improved economic analysis and consumer involvement are some of the main elements of Mr Monti’s future proposals.

In his speech, Mr Monti underlined that the EU will stick to its tough rules for mergers, despite the recent drawbacks in three cases where the Commission's decision was overruled by the European Court of First Instance (seeEURACTIV 25 October 2002).

The EU is preparing a far-reaching reform of its ten-year old merger regulation. In December 2001, it presented a Green Paper to get input from stakeholders. Mr Monti announced that he will present a full merger reform package in December 2002. However, he already unveiled the following elements of the upcoming merger proposals:

  • clarification of the notion of "dominance test", but no intention to change to the US system of testing the "substantial lessening of competition";
  • improvements in the economic capabilities of DG Competition;
  • introduction of a systematic use of a "peer review Panel system";
  • earlier access to the Commission's file than currently foreseen and more transparency in the procedures;
  • strenghtening the role of the Hearing Officers;
  • enhanced consumers' involvement in the procedures;
  • more flexibility as regards the timeframe of investigations;
  • simplification of the criteria concerning referrals of a merger case to the national competition authority.


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