The merger control procedure under EC law is laid down in the merger regulation, and in the implementing regulation. The merger regulation confers on the Commission the sole authority to assess concentrations with a Community dimension.

Concentrations, which meet the turnover thresholds of the merger regulation, must be notified to the Commission within a week of the conclusion of the agreement, the announcement of the public bid or the acquisition of a controlling interest. Such concentrations may not be implemented before the Commission takes a clearance decision. Violations of these obligations may lead to fines being imposed by the Commission.

From the date of the notification, the Commission has, in general, a period of one month to make an initial assessment of the notified transaction. If the Commission has serious doubts as to the compati- bility of a concentrationMwith the common market, it undertakes a more detailed, so-called second phase investigation for which a further four months are allowed. If the Commission does not take a decision within these these deadlines, the operation is deemed to have been authorised.

Source: Glossary of terms used in EU competition policy, Antitrust and control of concentrations, European Commission, 2002