STX shipyard: Macron's strategy incites anger

Paris and Italy have announced their intention of reaching an agreement in the dispute over the sale of the STX France shipyard in Nantes by the end of September. French President Emmanuel Macron had temporarily nationalized the shipyard to prevent a takeover by an Italian majority shareholder. In the meantime Paris has said it will no longer block the new shareholder structure. Commentators conclude that the affair has caused considerable damage.

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

A political alchemist

De Volkskrant points out that nationalising the shipyard is a surprising move for a generally neoliberal politician and describes the president as an "Anglo-Saxon liberal in the guise of Karl Marx":

“It's difficult to put a label on Macron. From an ideological point of view he is currently one of Europe's most interesting and exciting leaders. He combines the French Colbertist tradition of state intervention with the realization that neoliberal market reforms are necessary. Nor is he forgetting the populist desire to protect the citizens from the consequences of globalisation and international competition. Time will tell what this ideological alchemy will produce.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

National pigheadedness gets you nowhere

La Repubblica hopes the row will be defused:

“If the French proposal is convincing, Italy would be well advised to agree to it. … It would be wise not to allow the STX affair to become a matter of national pigheadedness, as France unfortunately seems to have done - and not to heed the demands of amateur international policy experts calling for bloody retaliatory measures in reaction to France's slap in the face. But we must be realistic and ask how real the chances are of cooperation, also at the military level, with a partner who has displayed certain hegemonial tendencies in recent weeks.”

Ouest France (FR) /

Unreasonable patriotism

Italy is a key partner for France, Ouest France stresses, and hopes that the government in Paris will act fairly:

“Talking only of exterior threats that weigh on France without ever mentioning what French capitalism does abroad is tantamount to closing our eyes to the truth. Paris goes on a veritable shopping spree in Italy and then gets all patriotic when an Italian investor - and a European market leader to boot - acquires a position as shareholder. ... It's one thing to call for a fresh start for Europe, which incidentally must not be based solely on the axis with Berlin. But it's another to stir up economic patriotism. Italy is a key partner.”