A member of the European Parliament has effectively challenged the European Commission's second approval of the Sony BMG merger.

In a written question on Tuesday, French socialist Guy Bono, member of the EP's Culture Committee and currently responsible for the committee's awaited report on the cultural industries, asked if the EC's approval was "coherent" with its policies on supporting small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the music industry and across the cultural industries.

"The European Parliament is exercising democratic control over European institutions by interrogating the Commission on the Sony BMG merger," commented Bono.

"Like many cultural sectors, music suffers from chronic concentration," he added. "Artists and cultural SMEs need to be supported as they play a key role in fostering creativity and innovation as well as growth and employment in a Europe. We must put cultural diversity at the heart of EU policy."

The European Commission - the European Union's executive arm - on Oct. 3 cleared for the second time the merger of Sony and Bertelsmann's recorded music businesses to create Sony BMG.

Pan-European independent music companies association Impala responded soon after, lodging a formal complaint with the European Ombudsman into why the deal had been approved again without remedies.

The Commission had first cleared the merger in 2004, but that decision was annulled by a European court ruling in 2006. The court then ordered the Commission to conduct a new investigation into the company.

Impala today welcomed Bono's stance. "I am pleased to see that the European Parliament is interrogating the Commission on the Sony BMG merger on behalf of thousands of entrepreneurs and artists across Europe," said Patrick Zelnik, president Impala and French indie Naïve, in a statement.

"We rely on the Parliament to ensure the Commission is held to answer," Zelnick continues. "The question posed by Guy Bono clearly highlights many of the key concerns voiced by IMPALA in the aftermath of the decision."

The European Commission is obliged to respond to the question within three weeks.