European states pull together to save Opel

European states pull together to save Opel
GM Europe CEO Forster, EU Commissioner Verheugen and others meet Photo: DPA
European governments have come together to try to develop a rescue concept for Opel that would not be bound by national borders, it emerged on Friday night.

And German Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who travels to the US for talks on Sunday, will represent not just the German position, but that of other European countries affected by the collapse of General Motors.

A closed-door meeting was held between those countries which have Opel and other General Motors subsidiaries, and the GM management, in Brussels, the European Commission confirmed.

Those present included CEO of General Motors Europe, German Carl-Peter Forster, Vice-President of the European Commission and EU commissioner in charge of enterprise and industry, Guenter Verheugen, as well as European commissioner for competition, Neelie Kroes.

The Belgian finance minister Vincent van Quickenborne in particular called for a clear rescue package for European GM subsidiaries, and accused the US car giant of not treating its subsidiaries equally. Belgium had not seen a GM rescue plan, he complained.

He said a collective European effort to save the GM subsidiaries must clear away any protectionist measures being considered by individual countries.

GM has asked for €3.3 billion in state aid for Opel in Europe, the majority of which is expected to come from the German government.

Opel factories in Bochum and Eisenach as well as the one in Antwerpen, Belgium, are said to be especially endangered by the near collapse of GM, which also has bases in the UK, Poland and Spain.

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