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French PM defends carmaker bailout in Brussels

Latest update : 2009-02-13

French Prime Minister François Fillon says that France's measures to shore up its car industry do not break EU rules. The country's bailout plan is "compatible with [EU] competition rules," he told reporters in Brussels.

AFP - The European Commission warned France Thursday that its plan to bailout struggling French car makers must not have "negative collateral effects" on other EU nations.
  
"We perfectly understand the French government's wish to boost support to the automobile industry," commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said after talks in Brussels with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.
  
"But we have to be sure that a national plan, whether it is a French plan or other national plans, do not have negative collateral effects for other member countries," he told reporters.
  
"We are going to examine the French plan in this light," he added.
  
The commission is the EU's executive arm and its top competition regulator.
  
President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced plans to lend PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault three billion euros (3.9 billion dollars) each and other measures in exchange for a promise not to shut French plants or sack French workers.
  
The commission, which has yet to give the loan its approval, warned Tuesday that the plan might break European Union laws against protectionism amid sniping from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and German industry.
  
Fillon insisted France's plan was in line with EU competition rules.
  
"The measures that we are taking are measures which fit perfectly within the framework of the treaties," of the EU, he told reporters in Brussels, insisting that the steps were "compatible with competition rules."
  
Barroso urged EU nations to avoid the temptations of protectionism as the global economic crisis bites.
  
"We are going through a time that's quite difficult. It's a time where the task for us, the committed Europeans, is to avoid any turning in on ourselves," he said.


 

Date created : 2009-02-12

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