Try to guess my answer to that question, however temptingly you pose it.
I don't believe we're seeing the beginning of a divergence. We have seen a partial divergence on this case.
There is no government in Europe where ministers go through that kind of confirmation process, which in fact is modeled on the way the U.S. cabinet members are confirmed.
I have the most profound respect for the Department of Justice and the FTC. We in Europe are a younger and I would say junior institution to the historical antitrust experience of the US.
That statement was not addressed to the authors of political statements. I said that I deplore attempts to misinform the public and to /trigger/ political intervention. And there were such attempts.
Reference to the territory and total disregard for the nationality of the companies is of course the best guarantee that competition assessment remain just that and doesn't get affected by trade or other considerations.
This is certainly not the first case in which a merger approved in one place hasn't gone through in the other. There was a case last year where the merger between two EU companies was approved here and blocked in the U.S.
A lot of the American press at the time was saying 'just watch what happens when Bertelsmann tries to buy EMI, that will be a moment of truth that will show the Commission's true colors.' Well, that deal never happened either.
As to the question of elected or not elected, each member of the European Commission has been appointed jointly by the governments of the 15 member states, and undergone individual scrutiny and a vote of confidence from the European Parliament.
Like other antitrust agencies we make our assessment of a merger or antitrust case based on its impact on our jurisdiction, and not on the nationality of the companies. This is exactly what the U.S. antitrust agencies, the Justice Department and the FTC, do.