Belgium Could Block the Opel - Magna Sale

Even if General Motors last week announced that it plans to sell 55 percent of Opel to Magna and cease another 10 percent to the company's employees, the Canadian - Austrian partsmaker and its Russian partners might lose Opel for the second time this year. According to a report by Reuters, the Belgium officials have asked the European Union to investigate the deal and check wether it favors Germany in any kind.

Basically, the Belgium government, who by the way backed RHJ, the other Opel suitor who lost the battle for the German brand in the favor of Magna, claims GM's decision could give the upper hand to Germany, even if it also hosts major GM plants. The United Kingdom is in the same position, as the country hosts Vauxhall's operations, but British officials haven't released a comment on the news so far.

Former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said he had asked European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to check the deal, so the European Parliament will discuss the agreement today. EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes and Industry Commissioner Verheugen will attend the meeting, the aforementioned source noted.

"Financial aid given by a country that guarantees that the factories in their country don't close is against EU rules," Verhofstadt said.

Other countries involved in the matter, who have also been asked to contribute to the financial package to be offered to Opel, are delaying a decision as they are waiting for more information on the deal. Austria for example said it won't provide more than 300 million euros, while Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk expressed his confidence than Magna would keep the local plant open.

"We'll make a decision (on the timing) once we have further details," a spokesman for Spain's industry ministry said.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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