March 14, 2006
Count on the French
The French have protected eleven categories of industry from cross-border mergers within the European Union. In the name of national security they have, for example, protected casinos. The Prime Minister of France, Dominique de Villepin, has made building "national champion" companies a part of his economic policy. The European Commission must decided whether to take France to court for illegally blocking takeovers. If the Commission tolerates the French policy, a tit-for-tat response can be expected from other EU countries, and the EU competitive advantage of economic unity will be in serious question.
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