Brussels still against Boeing merger

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The Independent Online
The European Commission said it could not approve the $15bn (pounds 9bn) takeover by Boeing of the rival McDonnell Douglas aircraft builder in its current form, despite reports that Boeing had put forward new proposals to clear the logjam. The announcement came in a statement following the commission's weekly meeting in Strasbourg, where competition commissioner Karel van Miert's stance on the merger was said to be fully supported by the other 19 commissioners.

"Unless the legitimate competition concerns of the commission can be met and genuine choice maintained for purchasers of aircraft worldwide, the commission could not approve the merger," the statement read. "Boeing has so far not agreed to measures which would meet these concerns and achieve that objective." Boeing was earlier reported to have tabled new proposals to get round commission concerns, but sources at the commission said its proposed remedies satisfied only one of the three problem areas identified. They also made clear that the commission was not prepared to negotiate beyond a deadline of yesterday.