French minister defends Alstom-Siemens deal
Alstom company headquarters outside Paris, France, on April 24, 2014. (AP / Jacques Brinon)
PARIS - France's finance minister is defending a deal to merge French high-speed train maker Alstom with Germany's Siemens as crucial to keeping European industry globally competitive.
Finance and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters Wednesday that the deal is especially important given growing competition from Chinese train makers to meet worldwide demand for the kind of high-speed trains once exemplified by Alstom's TGVs.
President Emmanuel Macron's government is under fire over the Alstom deal because the French state owns 20 per cent of Alstom and has repeatedly intervened to save its jobs.
Critics accuse the government of letting Germany buy out a French industrial champion.