EDF, GDF part-privatisation approved by French cabinet

19th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 19 (AFP) - A French cabinet meeting approved Wednesday plans to change the legal status of French state-owned power company Electricite de France and gas giant Gaz de France but French President Jacques Chirac said the companies would not be privatised.

PARIS, May 19 (AFP) - A French cabinet meeting approved Wednesday plans to change the legal status of French state-owned power company Electricite de France and gas giant Gaz de France but French President Jacques Chirac said the companies would not be privatised.

The draft law, made necessary by deregulation and liberalisation of the EU energy market, will be sent to the parlement for consideration on June 15.

Unions are up in arms at the move which they see as the first step towards privatisation of the companies.

But, according to a government spokesman, Chirac told the cabinet meet that EDF and GDF "would not be privatised" which in France means the government will not give up majority control.

Chirac said that employees of the company would retain the status as quasi-civil servants, social benefits and guaranteed retirement plans.

Nevertheless, unions are planning a national strike in protest for May 27 and other actions on June 15.

The issue is senitive in France with the government softening its industrial policy in the wake of regional election defeats earlier this year.

In the past, France has been in the hot seat with EU authorities and other EU members for not opening the electricity and gas markets more to competition while EDF and GDF entered foreign markets.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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