UCL Faculty of Laws


Industrial Policy and Competition Law: Friends or Foes?

04 March 2019, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

image of train tracks

Some reflections on the Alstom/Siemens merger and the future of EU merger control

Event Information

Open to



UCL Laws Events


Room LG17, UCL Faculty of Laws
Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens

Organised by UCL Centre for Law, Economics & Society


Professor David Bosco, University of Aix-Marseille, director of the Institut de droit des affaires


Simon Holmes, Judge, Competition Appeal Tribunal

Chair and Discussant:

Ioannis Lianos, Director of the CLES@UCL

About the talk

The European Commission has decided to block the merger between Alstom and Siemens (6 feb. 2019, M.8677), two major companies in the European rail market. The project to create a European Champion capable of facing Chinese competition on a global scale will not see the light of day. This decision has been widely criticised in France and in Germany. For instance, the French Minister for the Economy has described the decision as an "economic mistake" and a "political error". David Bosco, Professor of competition law at Aix-Marseille University (France), will comment on this statement. The economic analysis implemented by the Commission can certainly be discussed. But is it appropriate to say that the Commission has made a "political error"? The Alstom / Siemens case raises the question of the European Commission's political role in regulating the European market, but also its role in global markets. More generally, the case highlights the (controversial) links between industrial policy and competition law and policy in Europe. The recent proposals made by France and Germany for a reform of EU merger control, questioning the primacy of consumer welfare over other considerations, but also the recent debate on "strategic" merger transactions, show that this is a topic that will continue to attract attention in Europe, at least for the near future.  

About the speaker

David Bosco is Full Professor of Competition Law at Aix-Marseille University. He’s the director of the Business Law Institute (Institut de droit des affaires) of Aix-Marseille. He’s the co-author of Droit européen de la concurrence, Bruylant 2013, and Regional Chairman for France of the Academic Society for Competition Law. 

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