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.