German politician signals displeasure with France

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A conservative ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel accused France yesterday of showing “ice-cold” national interests in choosing General Electric (GE) over Siemens for an alliance with Alstom, and also questioned whether Paris had the fiscal leeway to buy a large stake in the French firm.

Peter Ramsauer, the chairman of German parliament’s economics committee and a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party to Merkel’s conservatives, said France had put national interests over European interests.

“The French government has a different philosophy,” Ramsauer told German radio station Deutschlandfunk yesterday.

“It acts with ice-cold national industrial interest, and the French government has clearly put its own national interests, one-sided French concerns, ahead of European interests.”

He added, however, that he would have liked to see the German government provide the same support to Siemens that the French did for Alstom. Siemens is based in Bavaria, where Ramsauer’s CSU governs.

Ramsauer, a former transport minister, criticised France for announcing plans to buy a 20 percent stake in Alstom despite its heavy debts and budget deficit.

The purchase would be made by the French agency that manages government shareholdings and is not expected to affect French deficit calculations.

“On the one side, France is on the brink in terms of its indebtedness, but on the other side seems able to afford a stake in Alstom.” – Reuters

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