§ Mr. Shore
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will introduce legislation to restore jurisdiction from the European Commission to the Department of Trade and Industry in dealing with proposed mergers or takeovers of very large undertakings where considerations of national or public interest are involved; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Redwood
The EC merger regulation allows member states to take action to protect legitimate or other public interests where these are not taken into consideration by the regulation. Public security, plurality of the media and prudential rules are recognised as such legitimate interests. Action to protect other public interests can be taken only with the European Commission's prior consent where the merger regulation allows. The introduction of legislation in the House of Commons to repatriate these matters would be invalid under the treaty and the regulation.