How to make the EU globally competitive

The EU Commission's rejection of the plans for a merger between Siemens and Alstom's train divisions has sparked a debate about EU competition laws. On this issue Brussels ignored the will of Berlin and Paris, who wanted to pave the way for a European company that could compete with the US and China in the global railway sector. Should EU states have more or less say when it comes to competition ?

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L'Opinion (FR) /

More power for the European Council

Political decisions must have more clout vis-à-vis technocratic decisions on the EU level, L'Opinion demands:

“It's not that the EU Commission is too powerful but that political Europe is too weak. In France and Germany, by contrast, the economics minister can reject mergers that have been authorised [by cartel authorities] and push through those that have been rejected, all in the name of strategic interests or social considerations. These are political decisions. At the EU level the European Council should have this authority. In that way citizens could then assess the costs and the effectiveness of the decisions without looking for scapegoats.”

Il Sole 24 Ore (IT) /

Paris and Berlin undermining the EU

There can be no more talk of equal rights among EU states, writes business journalist Riccardo Sorrentino in Il Sole 24 Ore:

“The structure of the bloc is becoming increasingly unbalanced. The strength of France and Germany will no longer be offset by Britain, the standard-bearer of an economic culture that today only the little Netherlands shares. ... The new German-French axis threatens to further strengthen this imbalance. The multi-speed Europe is already a reality today, but the fact that the leading groups consists of only the two largest countries which are slowly beginning to integrate their legal systems, border regions and defence systems carries the risk of diminishing the appeal of the European project.”