European Union – Companies. The Court of Justice of the European Union gave a preliminary ruling, deciding that art 19(1) of Third Council Directive (EEC) 78/855 should be interpreted as meaning that a 'merger by acquisition' in art 3(1) of that directive resulted in the transfer to the acquiring company of the obligation to pay a fine imposed by final decision adopted after the merger by acquisition for infringements of employment law committed by the acquired company prior to that merger.