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Brussels, 13th March 2009
The Vice-President of the European Commission G. Verheugen and his colleagues N. Kroes and V. Spidla have met today with ministers in charge of the automotive industry and with representatives of General Motors. Twelve EU Member States (AT, BE, CZ, DE, ES, HU, LU, PL, PT, RO, SE, UK) were represented at ministerial level. Other Member States were represented at the level of high officials.
The meeting was divided in two parts. It started in restraint with an open discussion on the situation of General Motors, in particular its European branch. The meeting profited from the insights of the Chief Operating Officer of GM, Detroit, Mr. Fritz Henderson and Mr. Carl Peter Forster, CEO of GM Europe, Zürich. Without the representatives from GM, and in an enlarged meeting format the participants continued the discussion.
All participants welcomed the initiative of the Commission and reconfirmed the need for a coherent and coordinated political approach towards the European automotive industry, bearing in mind its primary entrepreneurial responsibility in a social market economy, as already agreed earlier this year. All participants welcomed the presence of representatives of General Motors, notably since GM is a major employer in the EU. They appreciated the information received and agreed to ensure that no national measures should be taken without prior information and coordination with other involved countries. The Commission participants reminded the need to fully respect EU rules, including state aid, and to protect the internal market, which was acknowledged. The objectives of today's meeting, which was open and constructive, have been fully achieved.