Merger Control Post-Brexit - An Analysis of the Future EU-UK Relationship and the Potential Effects on UK Merger Control
Sammanfattning: After the Brexit referendum on the 23rd of June 2016 it is evident that the UK might be leaving the EU. In light of EU law, and the leave-campaign, the question of what will happen to UK merger control post-Brexit is especially riveting due to the internationality of merger control and the high impact of EU-control on competition law. Thus, the purpose of this thesis is to examine what would be the best Brexit solution regarding merger control. There are multiple scenarios that depict the possible outcomes for UK merger control after the UK leaves the EU. The first scenario is a membership in the EFTA and the EEA. This scenario would mean the least change for UK merger control, due to the continued effect of the one-stop-shop principle and the Commission-ESA relationship. The second scenario is a membership in only the Customs Union, much like the Turkey membership. A Customs Union membership would not oblige the UK to keep its merger control harmonised with the EU, but considering how Turkey has amended its merger control it may be implied that harmonisation is a long-term objective. The third scenario is an AA, an agreement which mainly provides a framework for further bilateral agreements. Though the AA is mainly a framework, one can draw parallels to the EU-Ukraine AA with its long-term aims at harmonisation. The fourth scenario is an FTA, either an EU-Swiss version or a CETA version. Both models rely on Cooperation Agreements to collaborate in the field of merger control, which enhances information exchange but not much else. The fifth, and last, scenario would occur if the EU and the UK fail to come to an agreement at all. The EU-UK relationship would have to rely on guidelines by International Organisations, which provide competition law guidance but do not provide a collaborative framework. Ultimately, this thesis argues that an AA with an added second-generation Cooperation Agreement would be the best scenario for the EU-UK post-Brexit relationship. It would ensure a lasting collaboration between the parties through the AA framework, while simultaneously protecting the fundamental exchange of information between the agencies in merger control.
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