European champions. The European Union blocked a deal between Germany’s Siemens and France’s Alstom, saying the merger would have violated EU antitrust policy. The European Commission also vetoed a bid by German copper company Wieland-Werke to buy a business unit from Aurubis on similar grounds. Even before the veto was official, France’s finance minister told France 2 television that “the current EU rules are obsolete.” France wants to work with Germany to revise EU competition laws, but Germany has already expressed doubts on some of France’s initial proposals, even if it agrees more broadly that the rules need an overhaul. This is not your garden-variety bureaucratic squabble about EU regulations; it cuts to the heart of the relationships between Germany and France and between the EU and its member states – especially those states that don’t have the luxury of rewriting rules when they run afoul of Brussels.
Australia strikes back at China. A few weeks ago, dual C