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FRANCE

Brüderle reluctant to buy EADS shares

Germany would prefer a private solution to state intervention if automaker Daimler wants to sell part of its stake in the European aerospace and defence group EADS, Economy Minister Rainer Brüderle said Wednesday.

Brüderle reluctant to buy EADS shares
Photo: DPA

Asked about creating a “golden share” in EADS, giving Berlin a veto over changes to its shareholder structure, Rainer Brüderle said, “it is one option among others but it is no secret that we would prefer a private solution.”

He added however that “we want to maintain the Franco-German balance” within the group, which owns plane maker Airbus.

Daimler is believed to be seeking to sell half of its 15 percent holding in EADS, which could upset a shareholder balance that now exists between France and Germany.

Daimler also controls 22.5 percent of the voting rights in EADS, the parent group of aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which is the same level as that held by the French state and industrial group Lagardere.

Earlier Wednesday, Brüderle met Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minster Wolfgang Schäuble to discuss the situation, but he said “no decision had been taken” on the matter.

Brüderle is a member of the pro-business Free Democratic Party, which opposes any kind of even partial nationalisation as a matter of principle.

AFP/rm

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FRANCE

Germany to tighten Covid controls at French border

Germany on Sunday, February 28th, classed France's Covid-battered Moselle region as a high risk area for virus variants, triggering tougher entry requirements at the border between the two neighbours.

Germany to tighten Covid controls at French border
Image: Peter H/ Pixabay

France’s eastern Moselle region is now listed as an area “at particularly high risk of infection due to widespread occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 virus variants”, Germany’s Robert Koch Institute for disease control announced.

From Tuesday, March 2nd, cross-border travellers from Moselle will need to be able to show a recent negative coronavirus test.

Germany has already introduced tough checks at its borders with the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol region, ignoring calls from Brussels to keep borders within the bloc open.

At those crossings, only Germans and non-German residents are allowed to enter, as well as cross-border commuters working in certain categories of jobs.

Every vehicle is stopped and occupants must produce a negative test that is less than 48 hours old.

The checks on the German side of the Moselle crossing are expected to be less strict, a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP.

Instead of systematic checks, police would randomly stop vehicles on the German side and ask drivers to show “a negative test and their online entry registration”, he said.

Germany has grown increasingly concerned in recent weeks about the rapid spread of new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus, especially those first detected in Britain and South Africa.

The coronavirus, including the more dangerous South African variant, is spreading faster in Moselle than elsewhere in France but French officials have pleaded with Berlin to avoid a full closure of the border.

The German classification “normally implies the extremely strict measure of a quasi-closure of borders”, France’s European Affairs minister Clement Beaune said Sunday.

“We don’t want that,” he said, adding that talks were ongoing with Berlin to find solutions for the roughly 16,000 commuters who cross from Moselle into Germany’s Saarland and Rhineland-Palatine states every day.

The German interior ministry spokesman said the two countries would discuss details of the border implications on Monday.

Asked why the French checks would not be as stringent as those along the Czech and Austrian frontiers, the spokesman said Saarland and Rhineland-Palatine had not requested border closures.

“And there is a good cooperation between the affected German and French regions,” he added.

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