Statements by Maud Olofsson, Vincent Van Quickenborne, Peter Hintze, and Miguel Sebastián on General Motors Europe
Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Enterprise and Industry, and Neelie Kroes, Member of the EC in charge of Competition, met for the second time with the EU Ministers in charge of the automotive industry, on 29 May 2009 in Brussels.
The meeting reconfirmed the need for coordination as well as the consensus reached at the first ministerial meeting on the situation of General Motors' European subsidiaries on 13 March 2009, where Member States and the Commission had concluded that EU rules (in particular on State aid and the Single Market) must be fully respected and that no national measures should be taken without prior information and coordination with other involved countries and the Commission.
All participants appreciated the renewed initiative of the Commission and the personal backing of José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC. They stressed the European dimension of the problem and the common interest to find a viable solution for the European subsidiaries of General Motors while insisting on the primary responsibility of GM itself. There was appreciation that Germany takes a leading role in this respect in the first stage of the rescue process. The Commission representatives highlighted that EU State aid rules may allow, under certain conditions, Member States to rapidly support General Motors' European subsidiaries in their efforts to overcome their immediate financial difficulties. They underlined that State support should ultimately ensure the long-term viability of the restructured entity without further injections of public money or unduly distorting competition. All participants agreed that any financial support by one or more Member States must be based strictly on objective and economic criteria, and not include non-commercial conditions concerning the location of investments and/or the geographic distribution of restructuring measures. Moreover, State support should facilitate the efforts of manufacturers to adapt production capacities to market developments. SHOTLIST