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"where, either intentionally or negligently, they commit a breach of the obligation to notify".

There are those who say, in effect, fair enough, but if the Commission considers that there has been a breach there can be a huge fine.

What about delays in supplying information? The Government are well aware that businesses are being asked constantly for more and more information. The Department of Trade and Industry is always asking them to attend wonderful 1992 conferences, and at the same time they are being asked to complete numerous forms. Running a business is not the same as being a Member of Parliament. Business men have to do things in a hurry if customers want things quickly. However, under article 14, if information is not supplied when it is wanted, there can be a fine of up to 25,000 ecu. That is rather significant. There are fines for not providing information, fines for not providing information on time, and fines for being negligent.

When problems of this sort arise, the normal course for someone in this country is to go to a British court. Some of our courts are funny but basically they are places where we get justice.

Mr. Win Griffiths : Under article 15 there is provision for review by the European Court of Justice. We are told :

"The Court of Justice shall have unlimited jurisdiction within the meaning of Article 172 of the Treaty to review decisions whereby the Commission has fixed a fine".

There is a judical process whereby those who are fined can appeal to the European Court of Justice.

Mr. Taylor : I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I have read the papers and that I am well aware of the provisions within article 13. Given his expert knowledge, I ask him to tell us how much it costs to go to the Court of Justice, what it would cost if something went wrong and the case was lost, and how long the process takes. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman, with his expert knowledge of Euro-matters, will be able to respond. Let us suppose that I am fined for not providing information. I could go to the Court of Justice, but that would cost quite a lot of money and the process would take a long time to complete.

Mr. Kenneth Hind (Lancashire, West) : My hon. Friend will be aware that efforts are being made by the European Court of Justice to create a first tier, where three judges will sit on their own. This will enable matters of law which require quick decisions to be dealt with expeditiously at short notice. All the evidence will be given by affidavit. This will provide us with a quick, cheap and simple operation of Community law.

Mr. Taylor : That is a splendid idea. I, too, have heard about that. I am saying that if someone goes to the European Court of Justice, the process will not be quick, easy and cheap, even if he uses the new tribunal set-up.

We are not talking about small fines. The Commission

"may by decision impose fines not exceeding 10 per cent. of the value of the reorganized assets where the undertakings concerned either intentionally or negligently put into effect a concentration in breach of article 7."

I know that some hon. Members may feel that this is silly stuff, but let them understand that the Commission can enter a business man's premises. It can enter premises that it thinks are related to an organisation. For example, it could enter a public relations company, if it considered that it were a related organisation, and demand answers on

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the spot. It would have the ability to impose considerable fines up to 1 million ecu. That is the sort of thing that people will worry about.

My hon. Friend the Member for Lancashire, West (Mr. Hind), who is a great Europhile, says that business men in such circumstances can go to the new Euro-court and that that will be quick and easy, but I doubt whether that will happen.

I also want to know what will happen when the Commission has the power, once a merger is taking place, to call for it to stop : I think that it is called instructing disinvestment or divestment. That does not happen in this country unless a merger is referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, and the Government do not do that in many cases. There is no question of the exciting implications of the House of Fraser affair being unwound, for instance.

I think that many firms considering mergers would like to know about all this stuff, but they cannot, because we debate it at such ludicrous hours. The Institute of Directors, for example, is very worried about these developments. I hope that the Government will give one pledge : that once the measure has been passed they will publish a little booklet explaining the new arrangements that business men must face. It is frightening for people trying to run a business to be faced with so many new powers and restrictions. I do not like the suggestion that Commissioners rather than courts will fix fines. The Commissioners are not men of God ; they do not possess unlimited powers and unlimited wisdom. We know who they are, how they get where they are and how they act on advice, and it has nasty implications for democracy.

Mr. Dalyell : The hon. Gentleman has just said that we know how Commissioners get where they are. How did Sir Leon Brittan get there?

Mr. Taylor : I would not like to give any advice on that. I have never been asked to be a Commissioner : that may provide some guidance on how to be appointed.

In the old days, people accused of dumping had to say that they were selling at a price lower than that at which they had bought. Nowadays, however, the Commission can fix what it calls "a normal price". Hon. Members may ask, "What is a normal price?". The Commission told a firm in my constituency that it was selling below the normal price, but when the firm asked what was meant by a normal price no explanation was given. Firms are entitled to no information whatever.

This is the kind of thing that used to happen in the old days before there was a Parliament or a democracy : officials would decide fines and would tell people what they could and could not do. They would announce that they were entering the premises. Some of my hon. Friends will say that I am covering old ground, but this is new ground. What we are deciding is within a new framework, a new kind of democracy.

I am sorry about the direction in which the Labour party is going. I used to think that, although we disagreed politically, the Labour party fought for the individual, for liberty and for democracy ; that it fought for the people and against the big battalions. Now our democracy is experiencing a dramatic change : the Commission is

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making decisions, imposing fines and defining normal prices, without having to give a reason. I think that that is wrong, but whether it is right, wrong or--as I am sure my hon. Friend the Minister would argue--does not matter, I think that firms are entitled to know what is going on. I hope, therefore, that when he winds up my hon. Friend will say that he will publish a little booklet explaining how the new European arrangements will affect mergers. I know that most people do not worry about it, but I think that the majority of business men will be shocked, horrified and worried, and that all who care about democracy and freedom would feel sick at what is happening tonight

11.58 pm

Mr. Alex Carlile (Montgomery) : I agree with at least one thing that was said by the hon. Member for Gateshead, East (Ms. Quin) : it is very regrettable that this important debate, and indeed the long series of European Community debates that we are having, always seem to take place so late at night. They attract an almost predictable cast list. On the one hand, there are the Euroholics, in whom a surfeit of European matters seems to produce a sort of sickness or paranoia, such as that expressed just now by the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor). On the other hand, there are the Europhiles--among whom I may be counted--who feel that the European Community is a much more democratic and useful organisation than it is considered by the hon. Member for Southend, East, and who are prepared to argue for its constructive aspects in the House. A debate on mergers and monopolies is extremely important. The Government's attitude to the subject may well be a benchmark of their attitude to Europe. Therefore, it was with great interest that I listened to the Minister. I tried to glean from his speech whether he agreed with the former Prime Minister from his party on Europe, with the present Prime Minister or with the Foreign Secretary who, presumably, would like to be the next Prime Minister. Good lawyer that he is, the Minister chose the role of amicus curiae. However, a little later, when he replied to an intervention from one of his hon. Friends, I thought that I detected a slight tendency towards the views on Europe held by the former Prime Minister from his party. We are considering redrafted proposals and it was right for the Minister to express reservations about some aspects of the proposals. They are not as clear as they ought to be and some features need redrafting and further consideration. One worrying aspect is the reservation in the proposals about the national interest--the question of what a member state can reserve out of the Commission's regime over concentrations, in the national interest. Does that include regional interests and the interests of Commonwealth countries? It is important that the United Kingdom should be able to ensure that the interests of Commonwealth countries, to which we have obligations, should be properly considered in the European context. Their interests should not just disappear among the market of 322 million and the combined interests of 12 member states.

Having expressed those reservations, I now say that the proposals just about get it right. They aim at certain concerns that we should all share. There is the concern that intervention in proposed mergers should be predictable. At the moment it is somewhat difficult to predict when the

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Minister will decide that a proposed merger should be referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. There are not clearly set-out financial criteria which enable one to look at the proposal made by the acquisitive company and say that on financial grounds alone the matter will have to be considered by the Commission.

The European Commission's proposals set certain financial and economic standards. Whether they are right is a matter for debate and further consideration, but the principle of setting clear standards is important. It will mean that a company that wishes to make a major acquisition will be able to look at the size of the proposed new company, set its proposal against the standards laid down by the Commission, and know by rule of thumb whether the matter will have to be considered further or whether it can simply go ahead. The company will know whether it has to justify to the Commission what it is doing or whether it can proceed. That will be useful for large companies.

The Commission is also concerned at the increasing concentration of economic power in fewer hands. That is not quite the same as being concerned solely with competition. As the Minister said earlier, the Government's sole ground for referring bids to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission is competition. The Community can consider concentration not only in fewer hands but concentration in the hands of non-Community nationals. That could be of great importance in dealing with the ownership of newspapers and--what worries me particularly at the moment--the ownership of satellite television channels, where there are great possibilities for the dissemination of information.

It is also useful that the regulating authority should, as proposed by the Commission, consider bids on a wider public interest basis than has ever been applied in the United Kingdom. The public interest basis could take full account of the environmental and safety standards to be set by the new company. We see from the way in which nuclear power generation is distributed unevenly around Europe that it is not possible to set proper safety standards on a purely national basis. If say a company from a country less than 100 miles from the shores of the United Kingdom proposed a merger which involved the construction of nuclear power stations not built to a standard acceptable in the United Kingdom, it would be impossible under present provisions to do anything about it ; but under the proposed Community regime it would become possible to consider the Community public interest, including standards on the environment and safety.

The Commission could consider the amount of research and development to be conducted and, of course, the degree of competition within the product market, and prices. Those are commendable public interest considerations which should properly be taken into account by an organisation that is considering whether a merger should take place.

There is an analogy with the anti-trust laws of the United States of America. If the Government really mean their commitment to the 1992 single market, there is a need for an effective Community competition policy to examine mergers and takeovers in a strategically European context. It is illogical to have a single economic market and to leave something as important as mergers and competition to a very limited degree of Commission intervention and mainly to national Government intervention.

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Mr. Dalyell : When the hon. and learned Gentleman talks about the environment, might that not be covered in article 20? In the explanatory memorandum we see that member states may take appropriate measures to protect legitimate interests. The hon. and learned Gentleman is a lawyer. I would have thought that the reference to legitimate interests would cover the matters that he has raised. I should like confirmation when the Minister replies. It is a very important point.

Mr. Carlile : I shall leave it to the Minister to answer that question as he is a lawyer more expert in these matters than I. Obtaining the answer will give his hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. McLoughlin) a little more exercise ; he looks as though he could do with a good deal more.

There is a logical case for a strategically European context in the policy over mergers and takeovers. While one must recognise the necessity for large companies, capable of competing in world markets, that must not occur at the expense of European consumers. If we have a European manufacturing market, a European production market and a European financial market, we must accept that we also have a European consumer market. If there is to be such a market, matters relating to it should surely be considered at European

level--particularly bearing in mind the high degree of democratic and national accountability that exists within the Community. The Community suggests that the burden of proof should be shifted on to the shoulders of those wanting to create mega-corporations. That seems right to me, and I hope that the Government continue to hold that view if they agree, as I think they do, with this part of the proposals.

Of most concern to me is the Government's underlying attitude. Are we really listening to the Government saying, "Yes, we want to make these proposals better. When we come to 1992"--when, on my understanding, we go from unanimity to majority voting--"we want a more acceptable regime"? If so, I have little criticism of the Minister's approach, except that he is a little grudging in his acceptance of the draft.

However, one is bound to suspect in the light of recent statements by the Prime Minister that the Government give the appearance of accepting the proposals grudgingly but are really exercising a Gaullist objection to the further Community's development. If so, I regret that very much.

12.11 am

Mr. Kenneth Hind (Lancashire, West) : On the final point made by the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile), from listening to my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor), I do not believe that the Government are making a Gaullist objection to Europe's development.

It is clear that my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East is not against the principles that the directive lays down but has a number of reservations about them. So do I and many of my right hon. and hon. Friends. We must take more interest in discussing these matters. I identify myself with the remark of the hon. Member for Gateshead, East (Ms. Quin) about how unsatisfactory it is that the House debates them late at night. In years to come, it will be realised that our discussions formed the basis of Council of Ministers' decisions--although fortunately the proposal before the House requires

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unanimity--and we may live to regret the lack of interest in them shown by some right hon. and hon. Members, the media and the public. I support the principle behind the Commission's proposals. If, as we approach 1992, there is no open competition and no ruling on monopolies and mergers, there will be chaos. Much of the directive falls on all fours with the Government's traditional guidelines, which are the Tebbit rules. It all boils down to market share, competition, and the overall interests of the consumer. The directive provides for a turnover basis of £700 million, which is not unreasonable when one considers the size of the Community. Many right hon. and hon. Members have been involved in mergers and takeovers. Two years ago, I was involved in the attempted takeover by BTR of Pilkington. Strong regional feelings exist in that case. The influence of people who work for that company is important for the region and there is clearly a regional interest that must be protected. I am sure that hon. Members who represent Yorkshire constituencies had similar feelings over the takeover by Nestle of Rowntree.

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) that we must consider the national interest--what he described as "the political interest", and there are other ways of describing it--not simply on the basis of individual sovereign state legislation on monopolies and mergers but in terms of the effect of this type of directive.

Mr. Denzil Davies (Llanelli) : The draft regulation gives all the power to the Commission, which becomes the investigator, prosecutor, judge and policeman. There is no room for national sovereignty in this set-up.

Mr. Hind : The right hon. Gentleman raises the point that I was about to discuss. As a lawyer, it worries me that the Commission is judge and jury in its own court. That is bad, and I hope that the Minister will press for more use of the European Court within the framework of this directive. It is wrong that, when the Commission says, for example, that notice has not been given of a takeover or that the information required has not been given, it can act as policeman and give on-the-spot fines. Such a matter should go before the court, be it passed down, as it were, to individual state courts--the British courts in our case--or to the European Court. Each company--whether it is taken over or it is the predator company --should have to appear before that court and put its case.

I regret this extension of power that we are giving to the Commission, remembering that traditionally we have separated the Executive and judicial functions within our jurisdiction. As a result of this directive, they could be merged. It is a dangerous step which we should avoid at all costs.

I appreciate what the Minister said about articles 85 and 86 ; those issues will have to be sorted out. If we are to have a policy for the future on monopolies and mergers within the EEC, a directive of this nature is essential. Hon. Members who, like myself, represent north of England constituencies and who share the concern that is felt about Rowntree and Pilkington may agree that perhaps it is a

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thought that the takeover by Nestle of Rowntree under this directive would have been referred to the EEC. Surely that represents a step in the right direction.

12.18 am

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow) : The message that the Government should be getting from this debate is the genuine concern that is felt in all parts of the House about regional interest. From Pilkington, York or, as in my case, Bathgate and what happened to the old Telegraph Condenser Company, it gets to Plessey, then Plessey gets involved and this week we have Towcester. I do not speak for Northamptonshire, but it is a general pattern of worry and there must be an overall view.

Because other hon. Members wish to take part in the debate, I will put the remainder of my speech in the form of questions. First, what is the legal interpretation of article 20 and what do "legitimate interests" cover? Do they cover regional problems, which were well outlined by my hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead, East (Ms. Quin)?

Secondly, on the important question of the threshold levels, do the Government agree with the view that is attributed to Sir Leon Brittan that there should be lower threshold levels? Are they to be lower or not?

Thirdly, a question about double jeopardy. I do not understand what the legal difficulty is. The Government have available to them expert advice. I have had this problem explained to me by David Edward, who was recently appointed by the Foreign Secretary--rightly--to the court of first instance. The Government can go to such expert lawyers and get some kind of ruling. There is an overlap between national aspects and the EEC aspect. We are not playing blind man's buff.

Mr. Spearing : I draw my hon. Friend's attention to the definition of a single market under article 8A, which is an area without internal frontiers. While I sympathise with what my hon. Friend and the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) said, if that is the definition of the free movement of capital, how can regional or national interests be taken into account?

Mr. Dalyell : That may be a question for the Court of Justice. The hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) may remember from his Cathcart days Lord Mackenzie Stuart, and other distinguished Scottish jurists who have gone to Europe. I do not think that there is much evidence that they are slower than the United Kingdom courts. He may have such evidence.

Is there a ripple of disatisfaction in governmental circles about the speed with which European Court decisions have been made? I understand that it has acted rather expeditiously, and has been effective. It certainly has a number of distinguished English and Scottish jurists on it.

Fourthly, what about the successfully contended takeover bids? My hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead, East raised the real concern of the Law Society of Scotland. I know something of the background to this, and it has genuine concerns. If it is concerned about Scotland, the north-west and the north-east of England have equal cause to be concerned. This is linked with the problem of additionality. Again, if there were time, we should have an explanation from the Government of what their policy on additionality is. When the other Commissioner, Bruce Millan, came to my constituency a couple of weeks ago, he

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expressed public concern that the British Government were using additionality to help their domestic finances, and using the European fund in a way that was not intended.

I do not want to be dragged into a debate about something that the hon. Member for Southend, East said, but he asked how Commissioners get there. It takes the can to have Sir Leon Brittan, after all the years in the background--

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry and Consumer Affairs (Mr. Eric Forth) : Careful

Mr. Dalyell : I am being careful. I do not need lectures in care from that Minister, particularly after his performance at the Dispatch Box. I will put it tactfully. Sir Leon Brittan rendered the supreme service to his leader of silence--silence about skulduggery. I have checked it, and that is a good parliamentary word. That had a great deal to do with the person in charge. It takes the can for that man, after his performance in front of a Select Committee, to be in charge of such sensitive issues.

12.24 am

Mr. Denzil Davies (Llanelli) : I shall be brief because time is pressing.

I want to return to the arguments on articles 85 and 86, whether it is better to have a directive and take court action on the basis of those articles. I shall make two points regarding the power of the Commission. Once the Single European Act and all the other measures for which some hon. Members voted come into force, we shall be unable to avoid some form of regulation. I am concerned about the power that the regulation gives the Commission. It will determine whether a merger is within the regulation. It will ask for all the papers on the merger and will be the judge, jury and policeman who polices the arrangements. Our system, which is not perfect and about which I do not want to be too romantic, is different. The Office of Fair Trading acts as a preliminary sieve, court of first instance or magistrates court. If there is a case it is considered by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, which makes recommendations and passes it to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, who makes a decision for which, in theory at least, he is accountable to Parliament. It is not a perfect system, but at least there are some checks and balances and consideration of the powers involved.

If the regulation is passed, two bodies must be established. The Commission should be the prosecutor, but an independent body--it will not like this proposal--outside the Commission, similar to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, should act as judge and determine whether a merger is within the regulation. Some people might say, "We can do that within the Commission. We can have Chinese walls, with someone at one end of the Berlaymont building acting as prosecutor and someone at the other end being the judge." I do not believe that quasi-governmental institutions operate in such a way. Commissioners and civil servants within the Commission may be honourable people, but I do not believe that that can be done. An independent body must act as judge, and an appeal could be made to the court of first instance.

I think that I heard the Minister correctly when he said that he was not too happy with the second limb of the regulation, whereby, even if damage to competition could result from a merger, the Commission could determine

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whether it is in Europe's interests that it should be allowed. The Commission would be exercising a kind of public interest function. It would determine European industrial strategy, and although there could be a reduction in competition because the merged organisation involves, say, electronics, it could decide that the overriding priority is to allow the merger.

I do not believe that the Commission should take such a decision. It is a decision not about competition but about policy and economics, which should be taken by politicians, taking into account the regional and other considerations. If the second limb of the regulation is passed, the Council of Ministers could determine that a merged organisation that inhibits competition should be allowed because of European regional policy. One can imagine the public relations men, lobbying groups in Brussels and vast amounts of money that could be involved. Such pressure should not be placed on the Commission.

I do not believe that the Commission should be judge and jury or that it should determine the political issue of European industrial strategy. Such decisions should be taken by the Council of Ministers, and the judge in the first instance should be not the Commission but an independent body.

12.28 am

Mr. Win Griffiths (Bridgend) : We have had an interesting debate, although it has taken place rather late this evening.

The Commission's proposal is a logical extension of articles 85 and 86 and the onset of the single market. There has been some disagreement about the exact criteria that would make the proposal acceptable to the British and other Community Governments. We have been given a sketchy outline of a tenfold increase in the worldwide turnover of a company compared with what would happen under the Commission's proposals and a fivefold increase in the Community turnover of at least two of the companies involved, which is the Government's position. It would be interesting to know the position of the other Governments and whether a feasible compromise which is acceptable to the House of Commons can be reached.

The Minister attacked my hon. Friend the Member for Gateshead, East (Ms. Quin) for referring to press statements and rumours. Unfortunately, because the Council of Ministers meets in secret--the only legislative body outside the Soviet Union to do so--we have to rely on press reports, rumours and leaks, which sometimes come from the Government, to find out the exact position. Perhaps the Minister would like to inform us of the feeling in other countries on the possibility of a reasonable compromise being reached.

I ask the Minister to examine the possibilities of using article 235 in constructing a regional interest. Article 20 of the regulation states that there can be

"Legitimate interests other than those pursued by this Regulation, provided that such interests are sufficiently defined and protected in domestic law".

There is a possibility of domestic or national interests being defined for the purpose of the regulation. Article 235 could be used to develop the concept of a regional interest, if the Government were so minded. Is that what they would like to achieve?

It is one thing for us to be worried about the lateness of the debate and for us often to be worried about the late

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stage at which we are consulted on European matters, but a more radical solution is available if we are prepared to review the Community's procedures and give the European Parliament greater power, particularly now that some Conservative Members have left it--it is now a much better place.

I wholeheartedly endorse the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies) about a separate body. We have in the Community a Court of Auditors which does a good independent job examining spending and fraud issues. This is an opportunity to do something similar in respect of monopolies and mergers and control of concentrations.

12.33 am

Mr. Maude : This has been a useful debate. The hon. Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths), who referred to the lateness of the debate, said that it was late in the negotiation process.

Mr. Win Griffiths : I did not say that it was late this time.

Mr. Maude : I am grateful for that correction. We sought to bring this matter forward for debate and scrutiny at a proper time. There is still a great deal to be discussed. I think that the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) would concede that we have done everything that we can to submit the proposal to proper parliamentary scrutiny. I warmly welcome the close attention that right hon. and hon. Members have paid. It has helped the Government as we take the discussions forward.

A number of my hon. Friends and other hon. Members talked about sovereignty, as though there were to be a transfer of sovereignty to the Commission under this measure. That is not the case, because the European Commission, under articles 85 and 86 of the treaty, already has such competence. It exercises it and is legally unimpeachable. If we manage to resolve the outstanding problems in this regulation, there will be an improved procedure.

Under article 18, the Commission would have to be

"in close and constant liaison with the competent authorities of the Member States".

There is no such requirement on the Commission under articles 85 and 86. In addition, there would be an advisory committee of member states which would have to be consulted on matters including fines and decisions made by the Commission. The Commission would take the utmost account of the opinion of the decision given by the committee and would inform it of the manner in which its opinion had been taken into account. I hope that that gives some reassurance that, far from giving more power to the Commission, the measure would define the power to be exercised by the Commission and would stress that it had to be exercised in consultation with national authorities, both the competent authorities and the advisory committee.

Ms. Quin rose --

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Mr. Maude : I will not give way, if the hon. Lady will forgive me, because I have only two minutes left and it has been a lengthy debate. I would like to answer the points that have been raised. My hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Mr. Taylor) urged us to publish a pamphlet if we managed to reach a satisfactory agreement. I can undertake that at such a juncture we would certainly propose to issue an explanatory leaflet. He is right that it is important that businesses should be told how these matters operate so that they can make their dispositions accordingly.

My hon. Friend also raised the matter of fines. The European Court of Justice would have the power to review fines upwards, as well as downwards, and would be given unlimited jurisdiction to enforce compliance with the regulation in the ways that I have described. It would, of course, be necessary for the Commission to be properly staffed before taking on these wider responsibilities.

The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlile) raised a number of issues. I am delighted to see that he has returned to the Chamber in time to hear the response to them. He mentioned the possibility that under the regulation it would be possible for wider matters to be taken into account than is possible under the national regulations. He referred to matters such as research and development, safety standards and environmental considerations. It is not the case that there is no scope for those matters to be considered under United Kingdom legislation. If a merger is referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, it has a duty to take all the relevant matters into consideration in deciding whether the merger is in the public interest.

The hon. and learned Gentleman also mentioned article 20 and the issue of national interest. The wording of that article is still under discussion and the draft wording includes a consideration of the local markets of a member state and national interests are generally understood to include defence, media and prudential controls in insurance and banking. However, we accept that further consideration and negotiation is needed on that--

It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings, Madam Deputy Speaker-- put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted business).


That this House takes note of European Community Document Nos. 5936/88 and 9822/88 and the Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum submitted by the Department of Trade and Industry on 12th May 1989 on the control of concentrations between undertakings ; notes the United Kingdom's general reserve ; but supports the Government's intention to continue to contribute constructively to discussions with the Commission and other Member States in order to see whether the outstanding issues can be resolved.


Motion made, and Question put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 101(5) (Standing Committees on Statutory Instruments, &c.).

Summer Time

That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Summer Time Order 1989 be made in the form of the draft laid before this House on 18th April.-- [Mr. Chapman.]

Question agreed to.

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