German Chancellor Angela Merkel could clash over the fate of Opel

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 27, 2010

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will face intense opposition over the fate of Opel after the election in Germany on Sunday gave her new government partners. Merkel will head a center-right coalition government after her Christian Democrats (CDU) and their sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), secured 33.8 percent of the vote.

Her new partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), took 14.6 percent. The group had represented the opposition for 11 years. Already, the FDP has expressed skepticism of Germany's support for a plan by Magna International Inc. and its Russian partner Sberbank to buy a 55% stake in Opel from General Motors Co.

Earlier this month, FDP party member Dirk Pfeil, who sits on the board of the trust overseeing Opel, refused to endorse the deal, says Autonews. Merkel had pledged to give Opel 4.5 billion euros in aid in exchange of its promise to safeguard German jobs.

Undoubtedly, that's good news for the workers in Germany but what result would this safeguard have on workers in Britain, Belgium and Spain? The European Commission is currently studying the deal with Opel, which employs 25,000 workers in four German plants.

Other European countries have also questioned the plan. On election night, FDP leader Guido Westerwelle said that he would push through his market-liberal agenda "step by step."

Merkel acknowledged that they will argue in some areas since they have different parties. In the next few weeks, be on the lookout as Merkel and Westerwelle strive to attain compromises on economic, security and foreign policy.

Topics: opel, germany

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