Tuesday, April 23, 2019

European Commission gives green light to Bayer-Monsanto merger

"The coming together of these two is a marriage made in hell – bad for farmers, bad for consumers, and bad for our countryside."

Image Credit: Friends of the Earth Europe

Bayer and Monsanto will press on with their merger. Yesterday, the European Commission approved the two companies’ bid to consolidate into one company, a major regulatory hurdle that many critics protested for months.

The German-based giant chemical company, Bayer, and the U.S.-based biotech company, Monsanto, will soon become the “world’s biggest and most powerful agribusiness corporation,” Adrian Bebb, a food and farming campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said.

“The coming together of these two is a marriage made in hell – bad for farmers, bad for consumers, and bad for our countryside,” Bebb said.

While polling shows that most Europeans were against the merger, the European Union’s executive arm claimed that “concessions made by the companies alleviated competition concerns that critics have raised with regulators in both Europe and the United States” in Bayer’s proposed takeover of Monsanto, Common Dreams reported.

“The Commission ignored a million people who called on them to block this deal, and caved in to lobbying to create a mega-corporation which will dominate our food supply,” Nick Flynn, legal director of the online campaigns group, Avaaz, said in a report by Reuters.

The merger, a $62.5 billion buy by Bayer, will “create a company with control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticide market,” Reuters reported.

“Our decision ensures that there will be effective competition and innovation in seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture markets also after this merger,” Margrethe Vestager, European Competition Commissioner, said in a statement.

While the merger still needs to go through thorough review by the U.S. Justice Department, global advocacy groups are determined to keep up the fight against the merger by pressuring U.S. regulators.

“The agriculture industry is already far too concentrated, giving a handful of massive firms a stranglehold on food production. Merging two of the biggest players only makes a bad situation worse,” Bart Staes, a food safety spokesman for The Greens–European Free Alliance, said.

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