Friday

6th Dec 2019

France and Germany in new push for industrial champions

France and Germany have renewed their commitment to creating industrial champions in Europe.

At a meeting in Paris on Tuesday, the newly appointed French finance minister Thierry Bretton said, "Europe needs great industrial groups, Germany and France have a role to play as a motor".

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  • Enthusiasm for the idea is not new (Photo: European Commission)

German economics minister Wolfgang Clement said, "we are in the process of developing a strategic co-operation with France in order to stand our ground in worldwide competition".

According to German daily Handelsblatt, the first concrete suggestions are set to come during a meeting between Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Jacques Chirac on 26 April.

A joint statement by the two sides suggests there should be more bilateral co-operation in areas such as energy, research and development.

This enthusiasm for industrial champions in not new. In August last year, President Chirac said "Let's have a European competition policy that truly takes into account the realities of international competition".

"Let's strongly support the creation of European industrial champions".

Similarly, the German European Commissioner, Günter Verheugen, who is responsible for industry, appeared to be in favour of the idea when he called in January for a debate about how competition policy is applied towards mergers.

"If that favours the appearance of European champions, I am clearly in favour of it", he said at the time.

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