The first half of 2007 saw a number of developments in European Union merger law and policy that will impact the European Commission’s assessment of mergers under the E.U. Merger Regulation. Most of the key developments were initiated by the European Commission in an attempt to clarify existing law and policy in several areas.
The commission launched a number of initiatives in the form of notices or guidelines that affect both the scope of its jurisdiction to review mergers under the regulation and the principles to be applied in the assessment of mergers, including the treatment of remedies. These initiatives are not new law. Rather, they are designed to provide guidance based on the commission’s experience in the mergers it has assessed to date and reflect changes brought about by European Court case law and the new Merger Regulation which entered into force in 2004. While these notices are not legally binding, in a system in which the commission, rather than the court, has the final say on the vast majority of large mergers, guidelines that reflect the commission’s views are central to E.U. antitrust analysis of mergers.
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