With Cyprus accession in May 2004, Council Regulation (EC) 139/2004 on the control of concentration between undertakings (henceforth «Regulation 139/2004») is also applied. The scope of Regulation 139/2004 is the effective control of concentration that falls within its scope and is exclusively examined at a community level by the European Commission (henceforth «Commission»), with close and constant liaison of the National Competition Authorities.
Regulation 139/2004 contains provisions for the control of concentrations with community dimension, as defined in article 1 and provisions on the liaison of the Commission with the authorities of the member states, as defined in article 19. The preamble of Regulation 139/2004 refers to the close cooperation of the Commission with the national competition authorities with the formation of a network of public authorities, by which they will share information and consultation.
Further, Regulation 139/2004 contains rules for the referrals of notified concentrations from the Commission to the member states and from the member states to the European Commission. The aim is to balance, on the one hand, the interests of the member states when a concentration with a community dimension threatens significantly to affect competition withιn the market of the specific member state, presenting all the characteristics of a distinct market and on the other hand, to improve the efficiency of the system of control of concentrations within the Community, when a concentration, which does not constitute a substantial part of the market, threatens to affect the internal market.
An innovation introduced by Regulation 139/2004, is the possibility of the undertakings concerned to request from the Commission, before a concentration is notified, to either refer a concentration with community dimension to a member state, or refer a concentration not having a community dimension to the Commission, also by applying the provisions contained in the Regulation.
To summarise up, Regulation 139/2004 permits the effective control of all concentrations from the point of view of their effect on competition in the Community, in order to ensure a system of undistorted competition in the common market, in accordance with the principles of an open market with free competition.