Karlsruhe. The new hearing represents a real opportunity for all involved parties – but only provided that they are genuinely willing to rethink the original decision.
For a purely formal repetition of the hearing will do nothing to address the problems associated with the Ministerial approval. The approval has at least one serious material defect. Namely that it explicitly implies that it will per se stimulate competition in the gas market, despite the fact that this is by no means assured.
The conditions need to be amended at the very least, both in terms of content and with regard to the means of implementation.
We do not wish to comment on all the other remaining legal questions, particularly not on the question of whether it is at all possible to rectify a deficient Ministerial approval in one and the same procedure.
In the new hearing, we will show that, due to its shortcomings, the Ministerial approval does not stimulate competition in the gas market and that the current conditions serve only two functions:
firstly, they serve as a fig leaf and, secondly, they are designed to mollify those rivals of E.ON who bitterly opposed the merger until the Ministerial approval was announced.
In contrast to these rivals, EnBW never denied the industrial policy logic of the merger – naturally under the clear condition that it creates more competition now and in the longer term. It is this condition that has still not been fulfilled, although we continue to believe that this problem can be resolved. It is the responsibility of the parties behind the procedure to ensure that it is resolved in a clear-cut manner.