France to ab­sorb ship­yard as Ital­ians lurk

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

PARIS — The French gov­ern­ment is na­tion­al­iz­ing the Saint Nazaire ship­yard to en­sure an Ital­ian com­pany does not take it over at the end of the week.

Econ­omy Min­is­ter Bruno Le Maire in­sisted that the de­ci­sion is tem­po­rary and meant to buy time and that ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Ital­ian state-owned group Fin­cantieri will con­tinue. He said he was go­ing to Rome on Tues­day for more talks.

The un­ex­pected de­ci­sion to na­tion­al­ize the Saint Nazaire ship­yard on the At­lantic coast is the first ma­jor foray into the in­dus­trial sec­tor for Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron, and runs counter to the free-mar­ket im­age the French chief of state has sought to project.

Le Maire did not use the word “na­tion­al­ize” dur­ing his an­nounce­ment, speak­ing only of the “right of pre­emp­tion.” That did not change the fact that the French state is tak­ing over the ship­yard, which last year turned out the world’s largest cruise ship, the Har­mony of the Seas, cre­ated the Queen Mary II and builds hulls of mil­i­tary ships, in­clud­ing air­craft car­ri­ers.

France’s sin­gle ob­ject is “to de­fend the strate­gic in­ter­ests of France,” Le Maire said. France, try­ing to beat back a 10 per­cent un­em­ploy­ment rate, also wants to guar­an­tee jobs for the ship­yard work­ers, who could po­ten­tially be re­placed by Ital­ians. Le Maire said cur­rent or­ders mean there are 11 years of guar­an­teed work ahead.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.