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UK asks Europe to stay out of the O2-Virgin deal

The UK Competition and Markets Authority has asked the European Commission not to get involved in the merger as it’s none of its business.

After years of mucking about and political nonsense, the UK is finally leaving the European Union at the end of this year. That means, from January 1 2021, the UK technically is not subject to any EU rules and regulations. They still want us to surrender a lot of our sovereignty in order to be given the honour of trading with them, but we could well end up leaving without a bespoke trade deal, in which case all bets are off.

Since the proposed merger of O2 UK and Virgin Media won’t be complete until next year, it stands to reason that it should be scrutinised by a UK rather than EU authority. Accordingly Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive at the CMA, has got in touch.

“We’ve sent a formal request to the European Commission to review the proposed deal between Virgin and O2,” said Coscelli. “Ultimately, this is a decision for the EC, but as the merger will only impact UK consumers – and any effects would only be felt after the end of the transition period – it is only right for the CMA to request it back.”

As we said when this request was first rumoured, it would be surprising for the European Commission to do the decent thing on this because there is so little precedent for it. The whole purpose of the EU is to take power away from sovereign states and it doesn’t seem to even understand the concept of giving any of it back. Presumably the CMA can just wait until next year anyway, but it would be nice if the EU did the decent thing before then.


10 comments

  1. Avatar JGM 09/10/2020 @ 7:29 pm

    There is clearly an important news story here, but do we really have to read the biased commentary about the EU? We’ve all gone through enough debate about this already and the matter is settled. Can we not just read about what’s happening in the industry without having to listen to Nigel Farage again?

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 12/10/2020 @ 8:57 am

      Happy to correct any inaccuracies.

  2. Avatar William Blackthorn 09/10/2020 @ 8:15 pm

    “the purpose of the EU is to take power away from sovereign states” really?

    Any trade agreement between countries including those agreements within the Single Market require a degree of sharing & surrendering of powers so they can each realise the benefits of those agreements such as tariff-free trade.

    Fair competition is integral to trade agreements which means, as UK is still in transition & trading as an EU country, such mergers are still subject to EU scrutiny. On completion of the transition period it is hopeful a trade agreement will be in place which would include elements of fair competition. Domestic mergers would likely then be subject to domestic competition authorities.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 12/10/2020 @ 8:58 am

      and?

  3. Avatar Denise 10/10/2020 @ 7:31 am

    The article is not worth any comment.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 12/10/2020 @ 8:59 am

      and yet…

  4. Avatar Bob 10/10/2020 @ 9:10 am

    Ho ho. Is it Christmas already. What click bait. Good to see impartial journalism at its finest. Don’t worry about your anti EU agenda you’ll get the Brexit you deserve soon enough. Is this decision good for the consumer or not? That’s the question. That’s what you fail to deliver.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 12/10/2020 @ 8:59 am

      Happy to correct any inaccuracies.

  5. Avatar Ryan 10/10/2020 @ 12:13 pm

    Hardly a very impartial piece really given your clear Brexit preferences which don’t really need to be referenced in this article.

    • Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 12/10/2020 @ 9:00 am

      Happy to correct any inaccuracies.

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