Paris attempts to rescue Alstom plant
The government in Paris wants to buy 15 high-speed TGV trains to prevent the partial closure of the Alstom plant in the eastern French city of Belfort - and the loss of 400 jobs. The French train operator SNCF has indicated it has no need for the trains. Can the Belfort plant be saved? French commentators take opposing views of the crisis.
A dangerous precedent
The Socialist government's decision could have disastrous consequences, Le Figaro fears:
“Of course that goes for public finances, which really did not need this additional burden, but also for the aberrant idea it conveys: now in all the factories of France people will feel entitled to believe that the state can and thus should help businesses in difficulty. Of course that's wrong, and numerous employees whose jobs are in danger may be sorely disappointed. The government has today secured a very transient political victory, but it may soon have to pay the price. When reality catches up with it and it finds itself incapable of providing a response to the calls for help which won't be long in coming, it will only fuel resentment with every week that passes. And encourage a few more voters to back the Front National.”
EU rules ruining French industry
The EU regulations for public tenders are mainly responsible for the crisis at the Alstom factory in Belfort, Jean-Michel Léost writes in Boulevard Voltaire:
“There are not enough orders. Even if foreign sales are a matter of pride, the TGVs won't be built in France! The main cause of the problem is the public procurement procedures imposed by the European Union, which both the left and the right have made the best of. The rule is simple: there must be a public call for bids. As a result the SNCF's next locomotives will be built in Germany: the 140 million euro contract slipped through Alstom Transport's hands! No special treatment for French businesses, even if they're cutting edge. And too bad if that causes unemployment and shut-downs! By Toutatis! We're Europeans before we're Gauls!”