In contrast to Toyota’s announcement of the Halewood closure in
January, when British big guns were relatively silent, Renault caught a
full salvo from European political leaders over its decision to close a
plant in Belgium. Even the French PM, Alain Juppe and Foreign Minister
Herve de Charette, whose government still has a 48 per cent stake in
Renault, criticised its handling of the closure. Renault’s response was
a Gallic shrug from chairman Louis Schweitzer and a 13 per cent increase
in the share price.
King Albert II was ’greatly concerned’. Belgian PM, Jean-Luc Dehaene
called the decision ’brutal and unacceptable’ and wanted to take Renault
to court. EC officials from president Jacques Santer down took Renault
to task, ignoring the fact that it was their own desire for ’social
protection’ that made Renault uncompetitive. It also emerged that
Renault wants to take advantage of the EC regional funding initiative to
uprate a Spanish plant to take over the Belgian production.
Evaluation and analysis by Carma International.
Cuttings supplied by The Broadcast Monitoring Company. ’What The Papers
Say’ can also be found at: http//www.carma.com/carma.