The European Parliament has supported the European Commission’s proposal to make the procedures on assessing mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the banking sector more transparent and free from political intervention. The initiative is part of the general debate on protectionism. Current EU rules allow national supervisory authorities to block proposed M&A if they consider that the “sound and prudent management” of the target company could be put at risk. The proposal would clarify what constitutes “sound and prudent management” by setting out five criteria. Member States may not impose requirements that are more stringent than those set out in the Directive concerning the notification to, and approval by, the competent authorities of acquisitions of voting rights or capital. EU ministers are expected to approve the changes at the EU Council meeting on 27 March 2007.