The European Commission has confirmed its receipt of proposals from America Online (AOL) and Time Warner for a planned merger of the two companies.

European Commission spokeswoman Amelia Torres said: "Yesterday, we received undertakings from the companies.

"We will have to wait for the Commission to examine those proposals, and we have to wait for the final decision, which must be taken before October 24."

Commission officials have expressed doubts that the Time Warner/AOL merger would foster competition in the European Union.

They are concerned that the new firm, with its massive media properties and brands and international clout on the Internet-access market, could stifle the development of the whole sector.