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Public Interest in Merger Control Systems in the EU and US:

A Comparative Analysis of the Uneasy Relationship between Merger Control and Public Interest

Giancarlo Piscitelli


Merger control systems tend to remain committed to a competition-based assessment, usually leaving public interest and security only at the political margins of merger control clearance procedures. Such purely economic approach has come under political pressure in both the US and EU, further exacerbated by the impeding protectionist tide affecting Western economies. It was following such pressures for reform that the EU adopted the very recent Regulation 2019/452, arguably a first step towards further harmonisation in the field. This article provides a functional comparative legal analysis of merger control systems of the US and EU, comparing specifically the relevance of public interest considerations in both systems, the actors and rules involved, the types of substantive assessments undertaken, and possible prospects of legal reform.
Keywords: Merger Control, Public Interest, Comparative Law

Giancarlo Piscitelli, Legal Research Master student and Research Assistant in Competition Law at Utrecht University. For correspondence: <>.


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