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Antitrust rules make Europe uncompetitive, Maersk CEO says

EU antitrust rules are stifling the creation of big European companies that can compete globally with rivals from the U.S. and China, A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S CEO Soren Skou told the Danish business daily Finans, Reuters reported.

Skou said competition policy "should not just be about consumer protection" and added that preventing the creation of European "champions" could put Europe behind the curve in terms of innovation.

"We cannot allow the United States and China to win the global technology race, while we spend our time discussing issues that belong to industries of the last century," Skou said. The chief of shipping company Maersk is a member of the European Round Table for Industry, a business lobby group that recently called on the EU to develop a new strategy to enhance the global competitiveness of European companies, Reuters reported.

In response to Skou's comments, a spokeswoman for the European Commission said that EU competition policy does not prevent the formation of European "champions," adding that the commission had cleared a number of large mergers in recent years. In February 2019, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager blocked a planned merger between Siemens AG's and Alstom SA's mobility businesses as the deal would have harmed competition for railway signaling systems and high-speed trains.