EU: No State Funds to Save Opel Factories

Since General Motors has already confirmed its decision to close the Antwerp plant and rumors are claiming that other facilities might have the same fate, countries hosting Opel plants are willing to do anything possible to save local jobs. And one way to do that seems to be providing financial help to General Motors.

However, the European Union said, through the voice of Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, that countries across he old continent are not allowed to provide financial support just to save their very own factories from closure.

“For us locations play no role. The important thing for us is whether General Motors can prove that the European subsidiary can survive in the medium term without state help,” Kroes told German business daily Handelsblatt. “Generally aid is only available when it is used to develop innovative, environmentally friendly products."

General Motors repeatedly said that it needs around 2.7 billion Euros to start restructuring Opel and demanded support from several countries, including Germany, Spain, Poland and the UK.

Out of these countries, UK and Germany have already expressed their intentions to help Opel and Vauxhall, with officials in the two countries confirming that governments are studying such a possibility.

"The primary responsibility for bringing about the future investment, the use of new technologies and models, the reduction of emissions, rests with the private companies concerned, not with the governments," Mandelson said in Berlin, where he met German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle.

"If in the case of General Motors, they present a business plan that involves some financial role or underpinning by our governments, then of course we will consider that. But first we have to see the business plan," he told reporters.
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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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