On Wednesday, June 9 2010, the German government will decide whether they’ll grant Opel live support. Or whether Berlin gives Opel a pat on the head and best wishes for their future endeavors. That’s the current plan, says Die Zeit, based on reports by the German wire service DPA. Plans can change, as they did in the past.
It looks grim for Opel.
Officially, on Wednesday the same committee will be meeting that had “scheduling problems” last Friday. Then, Germany’s Economics Minister Brüderle will decide, based on the recommendations of the wise men with the scheduling problems. That decision is expected for the same day. Or for later, if politically expedient.
It’s on the circuit in Germany that the committee had wanted to decide last Friday to shoot down GM’s request for aid. That clashed with the wishes of some Opel states that are ruled by the opposition. To buy time for a possible compromise, the scheduling problems were trotted out.
A compromise doesn’t seem to be in the works.
“In government and coalition circles, the expectation remains that the decision will be negative,” says Automobilwoche [sub]. If anybody makes GM regret their “payback” ad, then it’s Berlin and Rüsselsheim. Michael Fuchs, 2nd in command of the ruling CDU faction today says in Germany’s BILD Zeitung: “General Motor has made an $865m profit in the first quarter. It’s their duty to help their subsidiary. It’s not the duty of the German tax payer.” His colleague Patrick Döring of the likewise ruling FDP (Brüderle’s party) said: “This coalition should not throw money after conglomerates.” The German Focus magazine sees “broad opposition against government aid.”
With all of Europe going on an austerity course, it would be hard to explain why a profitable multinational needs charitable donations.
GM counters that because GM is majority owned by the U.S. tax payer, the money may not be used in Europe. Rock, meet hard place.