European Merger Control

European Merger Control

Do We Need an Efficiency Defence?

Edited by Fabienne IIzkovitz and Roderick Meiklejohn

This book examines the background to a change in the legal framework which occurred in May 2004 with the entry into force of a new Merger Regulation that for the first time explicitly recognises the possibility of an efficiency defence. European Merger Control assesses the likely impact of this new regulation, and discusses the pros and cons of the efficiency defence, how other merger control systems deal with efficiencies, how the investigation process can be organised to accommodate the analysis of efficiency gains and the main theoretical and practical problems which arise when anti-competitive effects have to be weighed against efficiency gains.


Mario Monti

Subjects: economics and finance, competition policy, industrial economics, law - academic, competition and antitrust law


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...