ECJ rules against ‘golden shares’[fonte: EurActiv]
The ECJ decided that the practice of holding a share, which gives the state a veto over mergers, was incompatible with the free movement of capital in the internal market. The ruling is in line with the Commission’s decision against the Dutch government in 2003, which stated that the influence that was given to the Dutch state as holder of the special share (“golden share”) could deter investors from other member states from investing capital.
The Dutch government argued that holding this special share was necessary to guarantee a universal mail service. But the court decided that “the special share goes beyond what is necessary to safeguard the solvency and continuity of the provider of the universal postal service".
The ECJ’s decision is one of many rulings against share ownership in France, Portugal, the UK and Spain. European institutions are currently stepping up actions against the increasing economic protectionism among European governments trying to fend off foreign takeovers. The most recent example of this was the Spanish government’s attempt to block the German E.ON bid for Endesa.
The Commission's proposal for a directive to further liberalise postal services is expected in October 2006.