France has called for a “spirit of partnership” when French and German leaders meet in Berlin later today to discuss the latest proposed Airbus restructuring plan. Ten thousand jobs hang in the balance as Airbus, struggling with aircraft delays and a weak dollar, tries to reorganise its operations and slash costs by a massive 2 billion euros a year.
With most of the jobs at risk in France and Germany there is bad feeling in both national camps. French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss the proposed new restricting deal, not yet publicly unveiled, but Merkel has already said she does not think she should be making commercial decisions for Airbus.
French Prime Minister Dominique De Villepin said on french television that he remains committed to two objectives, to make sure people are not sacked without fair compensation, and that the job losses are shared fairly between France and Germany.
While the unions fight for their workers there is a lot at stake politically for both France and Germany. However Airbus is only concerned with the economics. It says the restructuring plan is a matter of ‘life or death’ for the company.