Too Big to Control? The Politics of Mega-mergers and Why the EU Is Not Stopping Them

Angela Wigger, Hubert Buch-Hansen

    Research output: Book/ReportReportResearch


    Some of the world’s most powerful global agro-chemical companies are gearing up to join forces, which will grant them even greater control over essential food markets. Although the European Commission is tasked with the role of ‘competition watchdog’, its track record for the enforcement of merger rules to
    date confirms a strong pro-concentration stance.
    There is no other EU policy area in which such wide-ranging executive, judicial and legislative competences
    have been fused into an unelected entity: the European Commission. The result is that democratically-elected decision makers have no formal role in the overall course of the enforcement of EU competition rules.
    Paradoxically, whereas cartels that reduce competition in specifically agreed areas are fiercely prosecuted, mergers and acquisitions that permanently eliminate all competition are stimulated. The Commission has legitimized its pro-concentration stance by referring to synergy effects, such as lower costs and
    thus lower prices for consumers, product innovation and the displacement of inefficient management structures. However, large transnational corporations have been the main beneficiaries to date, and smaller and less competitive companies have suffered. The Commission’s policy of consolidation of economic
    power into ever-fewer transnational corporations is thus neither in the interest of consumers nor society at large.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationBrussels
    PublisherCorporate Europe Observatory
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

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