European champions and merger control rules

This set of two papers is derived from the training session on “Competition Policy and National Champions” organized by Concurrences Journal in Brussels the 15th July 2014. In the first paper, Damien Neven (professor of Economics at the Graduate Institute of Geneva) argues that a change in EU merger control rules to allow for the development of European champions would be mistaken, but that enforcement of the current rules should be improved, in particular regarding the assessment of efficiencies and the delineation of the wider public policy considerations that Member States can appeal to in exercising their own control. The second contribution by François-Charles Laprévote and Antoine Winckler, lawyers at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Brussels, addresses some legal issues relating to EU merger control rules that are often raised in the debate on European champions, including market definition, Article 21 of the EUMR and the treatment of efficiencies

Improving enforcement in the current regime Damien NEVEN [1] Professor of Economics, The Graduate Institute, Geneva and Senior Academic Consultant, Charles I. Introduction 1. Under the current framework for merger control, the Commission is supposed to prevent transactions that lead to a significant impediment to effective competition (Art. 2 of the Merger Regulation) and this substantive criterion is (unanimously) understood as referring to consumer harm. The implementation of this standard is only subject to the very limited exercise of wider public policy considerations, under Art. 21(4) of the Merger Regulation. These considerations can only lead to stricter enforcement, so that the consumer can never be harmed, and they can only be brought to bear on a transaction by the

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  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
  • The Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies (Geneva)


Antoine Winckler, François-Charles Laprévote, Damien Neven, European champions and merger control rules, December 2014, Concurrences N° 4-2014, Art. N° 69393,

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