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'Not Exactly Helpful': Germans Angry with US Role in Opel Negotiations - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Despite an entire night of non-stop negotiations in Angela Merkel's Chancellery, there is still no plan in place to save Opel from following GM into bankruptcy. The problem, say Berlin politicians, is a lack of transparency -- and a surprise 300 million euro demand -- from the Americans.

By the end of the night, following almost 11 hours of negotiations aimed at finding a way to save the crisis-plagued carmaker Opel from the clutches of bankruptcy, Germany's political elite looked exhausted. It was 4:15 a.m. on Thursday morning by the time the team emerged from the Chancellery, and most eyes had dark rings under them. Finance Minster Peer Steinbrück even mumbled something about how desperately he needed sleep.

Chancellor Angela Merkel (third from left) with members of her cabinet during late night negotiations on the future of Opel in the Chancellery on Wednesday night. But exhaustion wasn't the only problem. The talks, as quickly became clear, had failed. And as deep and dark as the rings under most eyes were, the flash of anger was likewise unmistakable -- anger at Germany's negotiating partners from the US.

Roland Koch, governor of the state of Hesse, which plays host to Opel headquarters, complained that the American role in the negotiations "was not exactly helpful." Economics Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said "once again General Motors confronted us with surprises."

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:48:15 AM EST
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Vauxhall and Opel rescue in chaos over GM demand for extra state aid - Times Online

Talks to secure thousands of jobs in Vauxhall and Opel have broken down in acrimony after the German Government accused the US parent company, General Motors (GM), of "scandalous" behaviour by requesting extra state aid.

Peer Steinbruck, the German Finance Minister, said this morning: "We were unpleasantly surprised when this new demand came out of the blue. We found that pretty scandalous."

The German Government, which faces a federal election in four months, had already said that it would provide billions of euros in state guarantees for the winning bidder, with Fiat, the Italian carmaker, and Magna, the Canadian car parts manufacturer, now competing for the business after Ripplewood Holdings, the American private equity group, pulled out.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 11:58:26 AM EST
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EUobserver / Surprise cash demand stalls Opel talks

An unforeseen request by General Motors for an additional €300 million to help its European subsidiary Opel, caused talks with the German government and potential buyout companies Fiat and Magna to stall in the early hours of Thursday morning (28 May).

"We had a nasty surprise when this demand turned up literally at 8 pm [an hour before the talks started]," said German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck, reports Bloomberg. "We did consider this a bit of an outrage."

EU economy ministers are to meet soon to discuss the future of Opel

The German government now hopes to secure a deal by Friday, economy minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told journalists in Berlin.

Detroit-based General Motors - likely to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US if it does not meet a US administration-imposed restructuring deadline of 1 June - said the additional cash was needed in order to keep Opel operating.

by Fran on Thu May 28th, 2009 at 12:01:57 PM EST
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