Now Monti faces an even greater challenge--exporting his market-liberating policy. For much of the past century, the U.S. has taken the lead in trust-busting. But George W. Bush may introduce a new era of legal minimalism, potentially freeing U.S. giants to exploit their strong market positions. Monti is reinvigorating his investigation of Microsoft and refusing to rubber-stamp General Electric's takeover of Honeywell International. Instead of allowing GE to promise good behavior and then policing its conduct, as GE wished, Monti is insisting on structural remedies such as divestments of parts of GE's airline business.
GE now seems willing to change its pricing and sales policies. It probably will not bundle sales of engines and avionics. Monti was afraid that combining the two would give GE unfair advantage in competing, for example, against Rolls-Royce in engines. Keeping markets competitive is the right goal for Europe.