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EU leaks, lobbying and the Deutsche Börse – NYSE merger

Some weeks ago, the Commission refused to give its agreement to the merger of Deutsche Börse and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). I’m not in the position to judge this decision, but the public minutes of the College meeting of 1 February where this decision was taken reveal an interesting argumentation concerning lobbying and leaks in the context of this decision.

In the debate around this topic, some Commissioners apparently regretted “that an external debate had been launched before the Commission’s official decision had been taken and that internal information had obviously leaked out“. Now while these kind of leaks seem to be pretty normal in the Brussels sphere, the reply by Commissioner Almunia why this was the case is very interesting:

“With regard to the ‘leaks’ to the press and the question of their source, Mr ALMUNIA highlighted the very powerful lobbying campaign run by the two groups.”

To my ears this sounds like: Whenever there are “very powerful lobbying campaigns“, the Commission services will leak information. Not that this surprises me, but I appreciate the openness of the Commissioner in this regard.

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