Merkel, Sarkozy to delay EADS talks until July

21st May 2007, Comments 0 comments

BERLIN, May 21, 2007 (AFP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will only discuss the problems at European aerospace giant EADS in detail in July, a German government spokesman said on Monday.

BERLIN, May 21, 2007 (AFP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will only discuss the problems at European aerospace giant EADS in detail in July, a German government spokesman said on Monday.

Thomas Steg said the two leaders spoke about the parent company of the troubled Airbus aircraft maker, which is beset with French-German tensions, when they met last Wednesday but "agreed not to go into the detail."

"They will meet in July in Toulouse and only then will they talk to one another in detail about the questions surrounding EADS," he said.

Arriving in Berlin just hours after he was sworn in last Wednesday, Sarkozy listed resolving the problems at EADS as one of the most important and urgent tasks he and Merkel must tackle.

He then suggested at the headquarters of Airbus in Toulouse the following day that the French state would be prepared to increase its capital stake in EADS.

"The French state will do its duty if there has to be a capital increase," Sarkozy told trade union representatives.

This approach could put Sarkozy at loggerheads with Merkel who does not want the delicate French-German power balance within EADS to be disturbed and favours reducing the public stake in the company.

Steg told reporters: "We have taken note of what the French president has said in recent days.

"We do not comment on isolated aspects of his remarks. We have always said to private investors that we want to reduce the stake of the state, the public stake, in the company.

EADS capital is divided mainly between French and German interests, both public and private.

Major changes in shareholder structure and governance require a reform of the company shareholder's pact, and therefore a high-level agreement between France and Germany, which was managed once, seven years ago.

Without wanting to interfere in the group's management, both Paris and Berlin are keen to defend their interests in a company that operates in two strategic areas, civil aeronautics and defence.

EADS also employs more than 100,000 people.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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