The FINANCIAL -- French government plans to aid the country's auto sector appear to
conform to European Union requirements, the bloc's industry commissioner
Antonio Tajani said on Monday.
"So far I've seen nothing" that would clash with competition law or other state aid guidelines, Tajani told a press conference. "I don't see any contradiction between the French plan and the [rules] I uphold."
France last week announced that it will boost support for environmentally friendly cars as part of a rescue plan unveiled amid growing concern for top carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen.
Tajani is the first senior EU figure to comment on the plans, which were conveyed to the European Commission last week and require a green light from industry, trade and competition specialists in Brussels.
PSA Peugeot Citroen posted a net loss of 819 million euros (nearly $1.0 billion) for the first half of this year, more than reversing a year-earlier net profit of 806 million euros.
As EUbusiness reported, the company, which employs 100,000 people in France but had already announced 8,000 job cuts there, said it will implement a 1.5-billion-euro cost reduction plan through to 2015.
The recovery plan will boost consumer bonuses for purchasing electric cars and for hybrids at a cost to the government of about 490 million euros, while the government in Paris will also commit to 25 percent of its new vehicles being electric or hybrid.
A controversial element in the recovery plan as unveiled was to see France ask the EU to put its 2010 Free Trade Agreement with South Korea under surveillance to "defend the interests of the French automobile industry."
However, Tajani refused to comment on this idea, saying he was not a "judge," but was focused on the sector's competitiveness.