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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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