Under the Community Merger Regulation, it is possible to refer cases between the competition authorities and the European Commission.
The system of case referrals makes it possible that a transaction, the assessment of which would belong to the competence of the Commission, based on the turnover thresholds, gets for assessment to one or more than one Member State, because the case affects a distinct market/distinct markets within the territory of the Member State(s) concerned. On the other hand it allows, that a transaction, the assessment of which would belong to the competence of the competition authority/authorities of one or more than one Member State, gets for assessment to the Commission, because it has significant cross-border effects and it ought to be notified in several Member States.
Hence, referrals can be carried out into two directions: from the Commission to the Member State(s) (Article 9 of the EC Merger Regulation) and from the Member State(s) to the Commission (Article 22). Such a referral can be realised after the submission of an application for authorisation to the Commission (Article 9) or to the GVH (Article 22). There is a possibility to initiate the referral of a transaction already prior to the notification/submission of an application for authorisation (Articles 4(4) and 4(5)). While referrals after the notification/application can be initiated by the Member States (or the Commission), "prior" referrals can be initiated by the undertakings.