Do We Need an Efficiency Defence?
Edited by Fabienne IIzkovitz and Roderick Meiklejohn
Vigorous competition in the European internal market is the best guarantee of the eﬃciency of the economy in serving consumers’ needs, innovation and the competitiveness of European ﬁrms in world markets. A large number of empirical studies conﬁrm that companies that are exposed to eﬀective competition in their home markets not only serve their domestic consumers better but also compete more successfully in foreign markets than ﬁrms that face little or no competition at home. An eﬀective competition policy is therefore just as important today, in a context of rapid globalisation, as it ever was. During my period of oﬃce as the member of the European Commission responsible for competition policy, I launched a programme of reforms designed to equip EU competition policy with the tools needed to face the challenges of enlargement and globalisation, while making greater use of the insights derived from theoretical and empirical economics. Prominent amongst these reforms was a thorough revision of the merger regulation, covering all aspects of merger control. One of the major changes introduced in the new regulation was the inclusion of a clear statement that substantiated and likely eﬃciences should be taken into account if they counteract the eﬀects on competition, in particular the potential harm to consumers, that the merger might otherwise cause. Soon after the adoption of the new regulation in January 2004, the Commission issued guidelines, explaining how it would apply the regulation to horizontal mergers, that is, mergers between companies...