Competitiveness (Internal Market, Industry and Research) Council: extracts from the joint press conference by Martin Říman, Czech Minister for Industry and Trade and President in office of the Council, and Günter Verheugen

Type: Summary of press conference   Reference: I-060784   Duration: 11:02:26  Lieu:
End production: 05/03/2009   First transmission: 05/03/2009
The European Ministers in charge of Competitiveness agreed on a contribution to the spring European council containing proposals to address the current financial and economic crisis. All the Member States agreed that it is necessary to reinforce and improve the functioning of the single market while avoiding protectionism. They also discussed the situation of the car industry in Europe. Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Enterprise and Industry, informed the ministers of his intention to organise a meeting of all European countries hosting General Motors Corp. (GM) plants, particularly the ailing Opel brand, to coordinate their response to the auto crisis. "This is not a meeting that has the intention to prepare, discuss or present a European rescue plan for General Motors, he told journalists. But the way GM is dealing with the issue in Europe is not acceptable and we urgently ask them to choose a more transparent and open way of communication with the European partners", he added.

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TIME DESCRIPTION DURATION
10:58:39 Title 00:00:04
10:58:44 General view of the press conference 00:00:06
10:58:50 SOUNDBITE (in Czech) by Martin Ríman, Czech Minister for Industry and Trade and President in office of the Council of the EU: We need to have a properly functioning single market without borders; all the Member States agreed on the necessity to reinforce and improve the operations of the single market; we have to counter protectionism inside and outside the EU. 00:00:29
10:59:19 SOUNDBITE (in English) by Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Enterprise and Industry, on the idea of holding a European meeting on GM: This is not a meeting that has the intention to prepare, discuss or present a European rescue plan for General Motors; the question of what will happen depends fully on the information we can put together but I would like to share are the views of those governments in the EU who already complained that the way GM is dealing with the issue in Europe is not acceptable; We urgently ask them to choose a more transparent and open way of communication with the European partners. 00:00:51
11:00:10 Cutaway of press 00:00:08
11:00:18 SOUNDBITE (in English) by Günter Verheugen: There is not a single company in the real economy in the EU that would create a collapse of the whole economy if it would disappear - not a single one, not Opel, not Volkswagen, not Siemens, not Skoda; it would be hard and difficult but the European economy would continue to live; it is completely different with certain financial institutions: if they would collapse, the whole economy would fall with them. 00:00:38
11:00:56 Cutaway 00:00:06
11:01:02 SOUNDBITE (in English) by Günter Verheugen: The car industry is not asking for a European rescue plan and I wonder what a European rescue plans could be; first of all, there is not a single euro in the EU budget to rescue sectors or individual companies - money is available only at the level of Member States in the form of state aid and that has to be notified and approved by the Commission ;second, the last time we restructured the European industry was the steel industry, 20 years ago, by using price fixing, production quotas and huge subsidies which nobody would be able to pay today; third, we do not have the instruments. 00:00:50
11:01:52 Cutaway 00:00:05
11:01:57 SOUNDBITE (in English) by Günter Verheugen: We expect GM to disclose everything: what are their plans with European companies and locations, what are they doing with the property rights and whether GM is prepared to maintain responsibility for the European companies or not; these questions are not answered. 00:00:29
11:02:26 Cutaway 00:00:06
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