The Regulatory Muscles From Brussels

The EC's Van Miert has earned respect as a tough negotiator

It was a blunt warning. European Competition Commissioner Karel Van Miert was testifying to the European Parliament on Feb. 5 about the proposed merger of the world's second-largest accounting firm, Ernst & Young, with KPMG Peat Marwick, its closest rival. The combined firm would have had 40% of the European market and 36% of the market worldwide, and Van Miert was concerned that the firms' clients would not be left with enough choices of auditors. "We received several complaints" from customers, Van Miert says. "There were large problems we had to investigate."

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