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Mega-mergers : Why the European Champions all the other damage

We write the year 1879. In Berlin, the company Siemens & Halske presents a world novelty: a railroad that runs with electricity. On the trade exhibition, a train engine chugs carriages and three wagons in a circle, the power comes over the rails. Berlin is electrified. More than 86,000 people want to ride alone in the first four months of the railway.

"Our electric railway now makes much a spectacle," writes Werner von Siemens in June to his brother. "It is, in fact, now what to build!"

Separately instead of together: ICE-manufacturers Siemens and TGV-producer Alstom may not be close together.Photo: AFP/Jacques Demarthon

With the electric railway Siemens has written history. The could do the German tradition of the group now, 140 years later. Because in the spirit of Werner von Siemens, the Dax want to ally group with French rival Alstom, and something New to build – a international Champion in the railway transport.

EU competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager stopped the merger because the merger of Siemens and Alstom would become a United force in Europe so strong that they can dictate the prices.

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Germany and France in order to grab

The Veto Vestagers could trigger a Revolution in European competition law. Angered by the Blockade from Brussels, Federal Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) and his French colleague, Bruno Le Maire to put a front handle on the European competition rules.

Instead of in the assessment of mergers, such as to view previously available only on the European market, to be competitive on a global level of scale. The European competition law "should take account of the requirements of global competition in the future," wrote Altmaier and Le Maire in a recent guest post for the daily mirror.

Together, instead of The German economic Minister, Peter Altmaier (right) and his French colleague, Bruno Le imago/Jürgen Heinrich

separated: to be clear, there Are strong competitors from China, the USA or other third countries, is to approve the European Commission of mergers of European companies in the future easier. "Among the 40 largest companies in the world, only five European currently," it says in a German-French Manifesto for a European industrial policy.

The want to change Altmaier and Le Maire. On the edge is also a concern that plays a role, the Siemens boss Joe Kaeser is located on the heart: the Instrument of the Ministerial approval, with the help of the then Federal Minister of Economics Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) wanted to clear the way for the Takeover of Kaiser's Tengelmann by Edeka, should be checked to see if it would work with the European level.

However, given the fact that the Instrument itself is controversial at home, this project, according to daily mirror information in the Federal Ministry of economic Affairs is not a priority. To forge, unlike the great reform idea, to help European Champions. 21. 22. In March, the heads of government of the EU deal at the summit with the industry and competition policy, before the European elections, to be presented with concrete proposals.

The economy is uncertain

The economy is still struggling for a Position. "The European competition law should be aligned in the face of global competition by non-European competitors," according to the Federation of German industries (BDI). But 99 percent of the members of the Union are small and medium-sized enterprises, market-dominant corporations could easily take in the pliers.

The discussion process is not completed therefore, the BDI, and DIHK, there is still a need for Coordination.

competition experts are horrified

competition experts have formed already an opinion. You are appalled. "The idea behind the initiative seems to be that European companies in Europe are allowed to quietly build up a dominant position, to subsidise their global Expansion," says the former head of the monopolies Commission, Daniel Zimmer.

"I take into account that European consumers pay excessive prices in order to fill the global war chest. This is more than questionable.“ In addition, it is not guaranteed that the then market-dominant companies use the extra revenue really for expansions. "Maybe you increase the profit and give the shareholders higher dividends," says room.

businesses are losing the power of innovation

"Regional monopolies lead to consumers, but business customers have to pay higher prices," also criticized Heike Schweitzer, Professor of competition law at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Damage would be the but not only the customers but also the companies involved.

This would lose their long-term ability to innovate. Add to that: to protect Domestic markets and to penetrate foreign markets, whether a policy of emerging countries. "Germany is not a threshold country," emphasized the lawyer.

EU Commissioner, Vestager: allowed 6000 Deals, 27 forbidden

could not create the European Champions, by running the competition, says EU competition Commissioner Vestager. Or China, pays in the same coin. Unfair trade practices are a case for the world trade organization, but there is no reason to loosen the rules on competition.

in Addition, notes Vestager to the fact that the lion's share of the mergers. In almost 30 years, the EU have approved more than 6000 Deals and just 27 blocks. Arguments, the present Vestager soon Altmaier also personally. On Thursday they meet on a cartel conference in Berlin.

Where there is a need for action

Nevertheless, does not want to close the Danish reforms. In front of the Background data play an increasingly important role, Vestager set up a Commission of experts to report by the end of March report. In Germany, experts advise in the Commission's competition law 4.0 on the question of what Europe can offer in the field of digital markets in the US and Chinese Internet services to better Compete.

More about

Alstom and Siemens, EU Commission's German-French Fusion

Alfons Frese, Markus Grabitz

Schweitzer is the Chairman of this Committee to deliver its report in the autumn. Of a restriction of competition law, but it has in this area. "We should make it easier for companies rather cooperation, by creating greater legal certainty – for example, in the case of the establishment of common data pools," said Schweitzer, the daily mirror. "Just as BMW and Daimler in the future when Autonomous Driving will want to do."

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