Coming up

Don't miss




Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more


Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more


Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more


Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more


Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more


'What would you do?'

Read more


Ebola virus: Liberia shuts most border points

Read more


Netanyahu says Gaza operation will not end quickly

Read more


As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • France evacuates its nationals from Libya

    Read more

  • Israeli strikes target symbols of Hamas power

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • Israel warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more


France, Germany urge A400M military aircraft funding solution

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-02-04

France and Germany have called for an urgent solution to the funding crisis surrounding the A400M troop plane, Europe’s biggest military project, as Airbus resumed talks with government buyers.

REUTERS - France and Germany called for an urgent solution on Thursday to the funding crisis surrounding the A400M troop plane, Europe’s biggest military project, as Airbus resumed talks with government buyers.

The 20 billion euro project is four years late and 11.2 billion euros over budget, threatening up to 10,000 jobs.

EADS unit Airbus is appealing to a group of seven NATO nations for billions of euros in extra support to start full production of the plane, which first flew in December, but governments are reluctant to let taxpayers foot the whole bill.

“Everything must be done to reach a solution. It is a decisive project which must be resolved very quickly,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after a Franco-German summit.

“With regards to the A400M project, I think that the negotiations should be continued, and we agreed that this is a project of strategic significance, and that everything should be done to find a solution,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

The two leaders were speaking at a news conference after a regular summit but stopped short of issuing a formal statement.

Their comments came as Airbus resumed talks with European defence officials in Berlin in a frantic bid to prevent the runaway costs killing off Europe’s largest defence project.

The A400M has been held up by engine and other technical problems, sparking testy exchanges between Germany, its biggest projected buyer, and Toulouse-based Airbus. Other buyers are France, Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey.

Germany’s defence minister, who has taken a harder line than most over the crisis, warned Airbus not to overplay its hand.

“There is a contract and we have an interest in not allowing ourselves to be pressured unduly,” Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told reporters in Paris after the bilateral summit.

Accounting pressure

Guttenberg was speaking before heading off to Istanbul for a meeting of NATO defence ministers, part of a flurry of meetings being held across Europe that could determine the A400M’s fate.

The NATO meeting will formally tackle deployments and training needs in Afghanistan but delegates did not exclude a side meeting of the seven A400M partners late on Friday.

The A400M is designed to put soldiers and heavy equipment in rugged combat zones like Afghanistan, filling a gap in aircraft capabilities between Boeing’s jet-powered C-17 Globemasters and Lockheed Martin’s C-130 Hercules turboprops. Would-be customers, especially Britain, want it in service as soon as possible.

Projected delays mean it will not enter service before 2013.

Germany called on Wednesday for an urgent solution, but a French official said the parties aimed for a deal by the end of February, a prospect likely to dismay aerospace group EADS.

Facing pressure to complete its 2009 accounts and decide on hefty A400M charges, EADS had set a Jan. 31 deadline for a deal.

Airbus at one point threatened to shut down the A400M if a deal could not be reached soon, risking a major confrontation with countries that call most of the political shots at EADS.

EADS is controlled jointly by French and German interests and the French and Spanish governments directly own stakes.

Talks broke off last week over a 2.4 billion euro gap in the amount each side is prepared to invest to keep the A400M alive, with EADS seeking 4.4 billion and buyers offering 2 billion.

Sources close to the talks said on Wednesday the differences had narrowed ahead of the Berlin talks.

Spain has proposed that buyer nations pay 2.6 billion euros towards cost overruns, newspaper El Pais said on Thursday, citing a defence ministry letter.


Date created : 2010-02-04


    Merkel in Paris to set out new road map for Franco-German cooperation

    Read more