Articles » Debate on European car Industry - Sept 15th 2009
It was noticeable that Commissioner Spidla (Employment) referred to GM Opel in addressing the House, while Commissioner Kroes (Competition) spoke of Opel Vauxhall.
I was alerted by a comment of Ms Kroes about a plan the Germans had already adopted. To quote this morning's FT, " she would pay close attention to Germany's plan to use an aid scheme, pre-approved under the temporary relaxation of state aid rules after the economic crisis, to cover the assistance". She feared that, "new owner Magna would wield the axe elsewhere, such as at the UK's Vauxhall plants" and claimed that she would," tell Germany its plan to put £3.9billion into the now Canadian-owned Opel firm would be blocked if fair competition rules are broken."
Meanwhile, Vauxhall workers fear, " political fix over jobs" (Telegraph, Business, p. 3). Lord Mandelson told the BBC."It is important to say that the European Commission should not accept anything that looks like a political fix.''
However, in the House Ms Kroes said that there is over capacity in the European car Industry but that the EC must NOT say where cuts will be made. "Its all about viable jobs", she said, "NOT Protectionism". Mr Spidla hedged his bets. National protection was OK under rules on State Aid but NOT National location of plant.
Am I wrong to share the fears of Vauxhall workers in Ellesmere Port and Luton?
On this occasion the UK media have covered the issue fairly well and in more depth than usual. Is this the start of better coverage? Don't hold your breath.
Tuesday - Barroso defended himself in looking for a second term as President of the Commission. He trotted out all the usual; EU in the forefront of combating Climate change, assumes Lisbon will be adopted - because its wonderful -, wants to help small businesses and he never wanted to privatise public services!
It turned out that he did need to defend, both the Socialist leader and the Green leader criticised him severely and said he was not suitable to do a second term. Nigel, of course, really tore into him, especially over the Irish second referendum vote.
Wednesday Barroso survived, MEPs voted in favour by 382 to 219, (117 abstentions).
For the second Irish referendum our new group, "Europe of Freedom and Democracy", has produced another 8 page booklet. Financed by the EFD group out of "Budget 4000", reserved for giving information about the EU, it is going out by regular mail to all Irish households as I write. Naturally our 13 MEPs have contributed most heavily to this publication.
Our booklet is already attracting vicious media response. You can see it for yourself on www.euinfo.ie Click on "Stop the EU Bulldozer", Click "Download leaflet" and either use the arrows to go from page to page and/ or print off. Please try to get copies to members who do not have online facility.
The timing is just right, Nigel is speaking in Ireland, with Timo Soini MEP of Finland, this coming Friday.. Would you be surprised to hear that he, and Timo, are both looking forward to it!
Derek Clark MEP Strasbourg Sept 16th 2009