The UK government has to bow to EU law for large takeovers


          I asked the Secretary of State today to confirm that large mergers involving companeis with assets and turnover in a variety of EU states fall to be decided by the EU authorities, not by individual member states. He of course confirmed that truth. He also agreed that Labour’s 2002 Act anyway took the politicians out of normal UK merger issues  save for ones involving the media or defence. Most of the debate about this matter in the UK is therefore irrelevant to the true legal position which will apply.


  1. Iain Gill
    May 6, 2014

    Why ? The French, Italian and German governments find ways of addressing such matters.

    You cannot even get stuff across the Italian border without bribing the guards, why are we they only fools to play by a super liberal interpretation of the rules?

    1. Hope
      May 6, 2014

      Hollande has stopped GE’s takeover of the French firm on National security grounds. could this be used for our pharmaceutical company? Could it be used for the FTT iosed by the 11 states as it is the central point to our economic wellbeing?

      When considering Cameron’s response based on his performance to date, I expect him to roll over after making a PR message to the British electorate. I also note he is proud of his overseas give away he neve mentions a sixth is spent by the EU on middle income countries- taxes that we earn for them to give away!

      1. libertarian
        May 6, 2014


        Which Pharma company is “ours” . Certainly not Astra Zeneca which is a hybrid multinational.

  2. Brian Tomkinson
    May 6, 2014

    Any of this in Cameron’s so-called promised “re-negotiation”? I doubt it.

    Perhaps this will rattle a few cages in Downing Street: – the Telegraph publishes under the headline: ‘UK anger over ‘secret’ EU financial transaction tax plan
    The Chancellor has accused the EU of working in “secret” to agree a financial transaction tax that threatens the City of London’.
    It goes on to report that: “Algirdas Semeta, the EU’s taxation commissioner, rejected Mr Osborne’s threat of legal action after the European Court of Justice last week threw out a British legal challenge against the proposals.”We should be clear that the ECJ rejected UK’s challenge on the FTT. This should pave the way for its adoption,” he said. “We have already clearly presented our opinion that the proposal does not violate territoriality rules.” ”
    Why, oh why, are your party leaders so determined to keep us imprisoned in this anti-democratic foreign organisation? Why, oh why, do you keep pretending that they are trying to do anything other than make our entrapment permanent?

    1. Nikc
      May 6, 2014

      You already have a transaction tax in the UK. Ask John.

      There are those who make and there are those that take.

    2. uanime5
      May 6, 2014

      The financial transaction tax isn’t secret given that the eurozone countries involved announced it some time ago and the UK even launch a court case to try and stop it.

      Also countries working together for a common goal is an example of democracy.

      1. Lindsay McDougall
        May 9, 2014

        Not if the common goal is not democratically determined and the means of achieving it are not democratic.

    3. Hope
      May 7, 2014

      I can understand Labour because it is a socialist/ Marxist construct. That is why so many former communists politicians are in it. I cannot understand why the Tories fight heart and soul to stay in.

      1. Edward2
        May 7, 2014

        I think it is the powerful lobbyists of big business who persuade Conservative MP’s that there are advantages to being in the EU.
        Most SME’s are not in favour of membership but they do not seem to have the ears of those in power.

  3. ian wragg
    May 6, 2014

    And of course the EU will approve the merger, anything to weaken the UK. What about Alstom. The French government seems to have sole veto on that merger.
    Then again there is one rule for Britain and a different set for France and Germany.

    Reply They are all under the same law, which depends on turnover thresholds. Astra is an Anglo Swedish French company in the EU with a large US business.

    1. ian wragg
      May 7, 2014

      Have you told President Hollande that???

  4. Martin
    May 6, 2014

    As Sir Humphrey would put it – “well Minister the advantages of having Brussels take tricky decisions are considerable – The minister will not lose favour with disaffected constituents or even other cabinet ministers or back-benchers. The press love to blame Brussels. It was a great mistake She made in not handing over airport policy to Brussels when we had the chance. As a result look at the delays to Heathrow.”

    Minister – “what about the commonwealth?”

    Sir Humphrey “Mirabel – they have just had to demolish it…..”

  5. Bert Young
    May 6, 2014

    I have today contacted 10 Downing Street requesting that we get a new leader who will take us out of the EU . We MUST have control over our own affairs and turn our backs on the edicts of Brussels . Nothing could highlight our plight more than your two most recent posts . Farage has been handed his winning card .

    1. Lifelogic
      May 6, 2014

      The Tories have not won an election for 24 years (when John Major won a Thatchers man, shortly before everyone worked out what a socialist fool he was), they clearly have given up fully on the next one. If they keep electing pro EU, green crap, high tax, socialists as leaders how will they ever win again? What is the point of the Tory party at all?

      Not quite as crap a labour is simply not a very good sales message.

  6. Richard1
    May 6, 2014

    The only grounds for the EU to block it would be market share in the EU. All mergers where the parties meet the turnover threshold are subject to the EU competition authority. I am not aware the EU could block a deal like this on arbitrary strategic grounds?

  7. uanime5
    May 6, 2014

    I expect the EU is asked about takeovers involving a country in several EU states because it’s easier than trying to get permissions from all the individual EU states, as all these EU states will all have their own laws and views regarding what is acceptable.

    I doubt people in the UK would be happy if France or Germany could block the Astra Zeneca / Pfizer merger simply because one of these companies has a branch in these countries.

  8. Ex-expat Colin
    May 7, 2014

    Needs a list of the EU-Labour collaboration effects to wreck us, and published daily. Could not leave that to MSM. Perhaps Dan Hannan?

    I’ll put it to Roger Helmer I think….more work that would not be needed thanks to Blair/Brown.

  9. Dan
    May 7, 2014

    By remaining a Conservative, you are entirely complicit

  10. BobE
    May 7, 2014

    365 days until the next election

  11. Lindsay McDougall
    May 9, 2014

    Well done. Nigel Farage noticed your question and the response to it, and mentioned it on Question Time. It doesn’t matter for the time being that he leads another Party. Eurosceptics winning all the arguments and putting the feet of all pro-Europeans and trimmers to the fire – that’s what matters.

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