French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said the government is “looking for solutions” to help prop up car sales and soften PSA Peugeot Citroën’s decision to slash jobs and close a factory near Paris.
Europe’s second-biggest carmaker last week announced plans to cut 14,000 jobs and shut an auto plant in France for the first time in two decades to stem widening operating losses.
The socialist French government is about to undertake some steps superficially reminiscent of those taken by the not-entirely-socialist US government:
The government’s goal is to save more of Peugeot’s jobs, ensure there are no forced firings, soften the blow for the workers involved and keep the Aulnay plant operating as an industrial site, Moscovici said. The government will also announce measures on July 25 to boost French car sales and prop up the entire auto sector.
Prime à les Clunkers, anyone? Maybe not:
[President François] Hollande [Saturday] said he would lean on Peugeot to rework the plan, consider incentives to spur sales of environmentally friendly cars and study the possibility of providing credit for vehicle purchases, though he won’t adopt cash incentives as his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy did to counter a recession in 2009.
This will, says Bertel Schmitt, land Hollande in trouble with the European Union for promoting locally-manufactured products:
Any attempts to favor one EU partner’s industry over other countries is sure to attract the attention of Brussels. Brussels is keeping an eye on Paris, due to past episodes of support for the French by the French.
Then again, France, even under the Socialists, might think itself big enough to tell Brussels to take le hike.