France’s Le Maire: Blocking Alstom-Siemens merger would be a ‘political mistake’
The European Commission would be making “an economic error” and “a political mistake” by blocking a proposed Alstom-Siemens merger, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Sunday.
“If the European Commission was to make an unfavorable decision regarding this merger, it would be for the wrong reasons. It would not only be an economic error but also a political mistake because it would weaken the whole European industry faced with China,” Le Maire said in a Europe 1 radio interview.
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POLITICO reported in November that the EU executive body had reached a preliminary conclusion that Siemens’ acquisition of Alstom would be “incompatible” with the internal market.
Blocking the merger “would also send to a conquering China a signal of European division and unarming,” he added.
Paris and Berlin have previously called on the European Commission to allow the creation of a European champion in the railway industry to be able to compete with China.
European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager is concerned that a tie-up between the German and the French companies may reduce competition in the markets trains and signals.
The new merged company would be around three times the size of its nearest rival.
The EU executive body has until February 18 to decide on whether or not to clear the merger, or what conditions it wishes to impose on the merger.