quinta-feira, maio 27, 2004
EU commissioner implicitly criticizes French rescue of Alstom
European Union Health Commissioner David Byrne implicitly criticized a French government rescue plan for engineering group Alstom Thursday, insisting that state aid to prop up big private companies was "completely wrong."
"We believe in free competition and I hope the next president of the (European) commission will help with this principle at a moment when some of our most important member states still see some national champions deserving state aid," Byrne told a meeting here of European pharmaceutical industries.
France on Wednesday won preliminary backing from Byrne's colleague, European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti, for a plan that would allow the French government to provide 2.285 billion euros (2.8 billion dollars) in various forms of aid to keep Alstom afloat.
The French state would in addition be authorized to acquire a temporary stake in Alstom, which builds ships, high-speed trains and power stations, of up to 31.5 percent.
But the EU commission for its part imposed several conditions on the deal, notably requiring Alstom to take on one or more industrial partners between now and 2008, sell off about 10 percent of its business and to refrain from any significant acquisitions in the European transport sector for the next four years.
French officials have lately been speaking of the need to create "national (industrial) champions" in Europe to confront competition from big US companies.
But Byrne on Thursday voiced reservations about such an initiative if it requires state assistance.
"Ideas promoted by some member states that still see national champions supported with state aid is a completely wrong point of view," he said.
posted by Miguel Noronha 5:09 da tarde
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