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The shifting sands of EU merger control - un, deux, trois, piano!

Katarzyna Czapracka, Mark Powell, Competition Law & Policy Debate, Volume 3, Issue 4, November 2017

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There’s a popular children’s game where one player (the Curator) stands with her or his back to the other players, who stand several metres behind. The Curator then turns around quickly with the goal of seeing the others move towards her or him (or a wall depending on the game’s variation), thereby excluding them from the game. However, frequently, each time she or he looks around, the others have taken a step forward towards their goal without being detected; and so it is with the Commission’s approach to merger control in the mobile telecoms sector. Each time the telecoms executives turn around, the European Commission has taken yet another step forward and they do not see the Commission moving. Despite the risks of the European Commission showing the red stop light (the Swedish variation), which effectively occurred in the UK and Denmark recently, the game is still being played. This article tracks the European Commission’s steps forward over the past decade and tries to catch the Commission moving.

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