EU ministers are meeting in Brussels later today to discuss the future of car giant Opel as its parent company General Motors teeters on the brink of bankruptcy.
The European Commission is insisting any solution must comply with EU anti-protectionist measures. There are fears that German industry ministers may ensure the survival of Opel factories on their soil at the cost of those in the UK, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Belgium. Overnight talks in Berlin between German authorities and officials from General Motors, have failed to produce a deal on state funding to keep Opel afloat. Minister-President of Flanders Kris Peeters said: “I think it’s very important to find a European solution for GM Europe and I hope that there is a place and a future also for GM Antwerp.” In Britain, the UK government has acknowledged that jobs could be lost at Vauxhall as part of the restructuring of GM Europe. Union leaders there are demanding action to protect British workers. British Trade Union leader Tony Woodley said: “My concern is that we, in Britain, we are quick and cheap and easy to sack. We will once again bear the brunt of any closures that inevitably will take place across Europe and I’m not prepared to sit back and go quietly.” However, British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson has vowed to secure the future of GM carmaker Vauxhall and its employees at its plant in Ellesmere Port, on Merseyside.