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Parliamentary questions
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21 August 2017
Answer given by Ms Vestager on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-004183/2017

The proposed merger between Bayer and Monsanto was notified to the Commission on 30 June 2017. The Commission already recently investigated two mergers in the agro-chemical sector, namely Dow/DuPont and ChemChina/Syngenta. In both cases, as required by the rules of the EU Merger Regulation, the Commission carefully assessed any possible effects on competition, notably in terms of increased prices, reduced variety, and loss of innovation to make products better and safer for consumers and the environment. The parties had to offer sizable remedies to offset the Commission's competition concerns. For instance, the divestiture to a third party of DuPont's entire R&D organisation ensures that the Dow/DuPont merger will not be at the expense of continued innovation.

The Commission will investigate the Bayer/Monsanto merger, again applying the rules of the EU Merger Regulation, and will duly take into account the concerns raised by the Honourable Members. The final decision will have to abide by those rules, be impartial, and will be subject to the scrutiny of the European Courts.

Quite apart from investigating competition issues raised by mergers, the EU has one of the most stringent regulatory systems for pesticides in the world, ensuring the highest safety standards for human and animal health and the environment, underpinned by sound science. The Commission has in the past removed active substances from the market for which it could not be demonstrated that the strict approval criteria enshrined in the plant protection products legislation(1) are satisfied and will continue to do so. The Commission also sets maximum residue levels for pesticides on food and feed to protect human and animal health.

(1)Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 1‐50.

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