the European competition authorities were wrong to stop packaging companies Tetra Laval and Sidel from merging in 2001.
The European Court of Justice move, upholding an earlier ruling, puts the EU Commission on notice:
to build its case soundly when ‘interpreting information of an economic nature’.
It also consolidates the community courts’ ‘power of judicial review’.
The Commission had argued the merger of the Swiss-Swedish packaging company and the French packaging machine maker would have distorted the market.
They objected, and so the operation went ahead in 2003, Brussels then launching its own legal appeal.
That was during the Prodi Commission.
The new competition office of Neelie Kroes has said the latest ruling will not significantly inhibit the European regulatory machinery, and that lessons have been learned.