EADS: France, Germany will work together


The head of Airbus parent EADS dampened fears of a Franco-German rift over the European debt crisis on Wednesday, saying the euro zone’s largest economies knew they had to work together.

“I don’t think that France and Germany are diverging. Certainly they could have different opinions but both of them know they have no other choice but to work together,” EADS Chief Executive Louis Gallois told a news conference at the Berlin Air Show, now underway, Reuters reports.

Relations between Germany and France have frayed during the European debt crisis, with the two countries presenting different visions of how to overcome the problems that are battering many euro zone nations. EADS was created 10 years ago from a merger of key interests between France and Germany, followed by Spain. Despite efforts to run EADS as a normal company, it is often seen as a sensitive barometer of touch-and-go relations between Paris and Berlin.
“I am not truly pessimistic on the Franco-German dialogue. On a lot of topics they could diverge but at the end of the day they have to find common solutions. If not there is no longer Europe, we know that,”Gallois said. “On a lot of issues Europe goes to the end of the cliff; they find solutions when they are at the end of the cliff,” the veteran industrialist and former French civil servant said.

France wants to create an “economic government” for the euro zone, with regular summits of the 16 leaders and a dedicated secretariat, to coordinate economic policy. Germany is unconvinced and is banging the drum for greater budget austerity. Gallois said the euro, down 16 percent to $1.19 this year, was “not weak but at a reasonable value”.

Gallois was speaking at the Berlin air show which opened with a splash on Tuesday as Airbus announced $14 billion in new orders including another 32 superjumbo A380’s for the Arab world’s largest airline, Dubai’s Emirates. Gallois said recent industrial problems on the Airbus A380 had been brought under control and that the company had enough cash for “reasonable” sized acquisitions in defence services or security in the United States despite the weakening of the euro.

He said talks to finalise a recent seven-nation funding accord to prop up the delayed A400M troop carrier would probably miss an end-June deadline but would be successfully completed.