FT COMMENT: Rail merger veto a victory for EU antitrust policy
The bloc is leading the way in rooting out anticompetitive behaviour
The decision to block the Siemens-Alstom rail merger is another feather in the cap of Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner — and of EU antitrust policy more broadly. While Eurosceptics claim the EU does little for ordinary people, antitrust is one area where Europe-wide enforcement adds real value. Under the bold but methodical Vestager, the EU is becoming the global trailblazer in policing competition, and especially in regulating big technology companies. The proposed merger of French and German train companies to form a rail equivalent of Airbus was one of the most contentious cases of recent years. It raised the issue of whether the EU should loosen its antitrust approach to enable the creation of “European champions” capable of taking on huge, often state-backed, rivals from China and other emerging economies. Vestager was right to shrug off vigorous lobbying from the French and German governments. She heeded instead the complaints of antitrust authorities from f...