Comité Central d'Entreprise de la Société Anonyme Vittel v. Fédération Générale Agroalimentaire

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Merger Regulation; Article 3 TEU

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Competition - mergers

Notably, the Court of Justice of the European Union has also given regard to social criteria in its assessments of mergers. The Court in CCE de Vittel assessed the duty of the Commission to include social criteria in its assessment of mergers and stated that “primacy given to the establishment of a system of free competition may in certain cases be reconciled, in the context of the assessment of whether a concentration is compatible with the common market, with the taking into consideration of social effects of that operation if they are liable to affect adversely the social objectives referred to in Article 2 of the Treaty. The Commission may therefore have to ascertain whether the concentration is liable to have consequences, even if only indirectly, for the position of the employees in the undertakings in question, such as to affect the level or conditions of employment in the Community or a substantial part of it” which “requires the Commission to draw up an economic balance for the concentration in question, which may, in some circumstances, entail considerations of a social nature”. “the position of the employees of the undertakings which are the subject of the concentration may in certain cases be taken into consideration by the Commission when adopting its decision” (§ 38-40).

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