ERT response to EC on reforms to merger control process (Simplified Procedure)

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The Competition Policy Working Group of ERT welcomes the European Commission’s continued engagement with stakeholders on revisions to certain procedural aspects of EU merger control.

As noted in ERT’s submission to the European Commission dated 18 June 2021, it is positive that steps are being proposed to reduce the burden that the EC’s merger control processes create, particularly in light of the leading role the EC has among competition agencies worldwide.

While simplifying and streamlining notification processes is painstaking, it is often a thankless task. ERT truly appreciates DG COMP’s efforts in this regard and encourages DG COMP to examine how such an approach could also be applied to ‘normal’ merger control processes in due course.

ERT considers the EC’s proposed reforms, focusing in particular on:

  • eligibility for the simplified procedure,
  • burdens arising from use of the simplified and non-simplified procedures,
  • requests for pre-notification referral; and (iv) reforms to the substantive assessment.

ERT largely welcomes the EC’s proposed reforms, but it believes that certain reforms could go further and/or that further clarity is required in relation to certain reforms – this is addressed in this Expert Paper.