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Germany and France on Tuesday launched a drive to overhaul the European Union's competition rules to facilitate the creation of world-leading companies. They pushed forward a project to create a car battery consortium aimed at catching up with Asian rivals.
A German-French "manifesto for a European industrial policy fit for the 21st century" agreed on by the countries' economy ministers reflects worries that the continent risks falling far behind in the development of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and electric mobility.
Anger - Berlin - Paris - EU - Authorities
It also reflects anger in Berlin and Paris after EU antitrust authorities blocked the creation of a rail giant that could compete with China.
Speaking at a separate event earlier Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the EU's stance on competition "leaves me in doubt about whether we can really produce global players this way."
Manifesto - States - Choice - Policy - Forces
The German-French manifesto states that "the choice is simple when it comes to industrial policy: unite our forces or allow our industrial base and capacity to gradually disappear." It advocates a European strategy for technology funding and calls for becoming "world leaders" on artificial intelligence.
After the EU blocked the merger of the rail businesses of Germany's Siemens and France's Alstom, Germany and France are suggesting that EU guidelines be updated to take greater account of global competition. They also advocate discussing whether the European Council—which brings together EU members' governments—should be...
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