With the UK Competition Commission still considering MyFerryLink’s appeal against last year’s decision to ban its vessels from using the Port of Dover, there are calls from Europe for the whole question of regulatory authorities to be investigated.
The number of competition bodies in the EU has risen from three in 1989 to a total of 30, which now represents around a quarter of 125 world bodies. But this is in an area with only seven per cent of the world’s population.
A report to the French authority says the consistency of competition decisions across Europe suffers from different legal interpretations, such as in the case of MyFerryLink, a British court annulling the decision of the UK Commission under the pretext that it was not a merger, but while confirming the positions of the authority’s analysis regarding competition issues.
One solution would be to systematically refer such cases directly to European competition authorities in Brussels rather than to national ones in cases of cross-border mergers. France could put the issue on the table of EU leaders at their next summit, with the aim of making regulators work better together and putting in place simpler and more responsive procedures.