French finance minister urges revamp of EU competition rules

January 30, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Wednesday called for an overhaul of European Union competition rules, citing the difficulties Alstom and Siemens are facing over their planned rail business merger.

“EU regulation of course is not always perfect and there are plenty of good reasons to improve it. Let’s have a look at the rules on competition for instance,” Le Maire said at a conference on financial technology.

“I’m thinking of Alstom and Siemens’ merger project. I strongly believe we have to change the rules of competition in the EU,” he added.

Le Maire has repeatedly said in recent weeks that it would be a political and economic mistake were the European Commission to block the tie-up, which he says is necessary to compete against a much bigger Chinese rival.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Richard Lough)