Refusal Of The Alstom/Siemens Merger The French And German Governments Publish A 'Manifesto' For The Modification Of Merger Control

Author:Mr Marc-Antoine Picquier and Renaud Christol
Profession:August Debouzy

The political reaction is noticeably prompt: thirteen days after the European Commission's rejection of the Alstom / Siemens merger, the French and German governments published, on 19 February 2019, a manifesto for a European industrial policy for the 21st century (hereinafter the "Manifesto") 1 which "calls for a more ambitious European industrial strategy with clear objectives by 2030".

Predictably, the Manifesto emphasizes the need for Europe to have a real industrial policy in order to be competitive on a global scale and to develop long-term industrial strategies. According to the Manifesto, this evolution will only be possible if States combine their funding, skills and expertise.

The Manifesto states that this European industrial strategy must be structured around three "pillars":

investing massively in innovation; implementing effective measures to protect oneself; adapting the regulatory framework. I/ Investing massively in innovation

This involves setting up a European strategy to finance technology with the support of various programs (InvestEU) and competent and experienced European institutions (European Investment Fund - EIF) and financial markets.

The Manifesto spotlights innovation and expresses the need for a strong EU commitment to disruptive innovation in order to be able to produce disruptive technologies: "the goal is to support very high-risk deep tech projects at the European level with a large autonomy given to program managers allowing them to make high-risk technological bets."

The other ambition is to place the EU among the world leaders in artificial intelligence (AI).To this end, France and Germany will intensify their cooperation through a joint research and innovation network:"[a] working group of the economic ministries deals with the cooperation in AI focusing on four topics: 1. Data sharing, 2. Cross-border experimental zones, 3. Best practices to achieve the transfer of research results to businesses, 4. Technical and ethical standards."

II/ Implementing effective measures to protect oneself

In order to defend EU technologies, companies and markets, ministers suggest filtering foreign investment in Europe. This filtering should be supplemented by strict national laws, as France and Germany have already done. In other words, it is a matter of creating a European "Montebourg Decree" (which was introduced when Alstom's energy division was sold).

In relation with third countries, the defense of...

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