‘ArcelorMittal, French govt also found way to prepare for future’

Ambassador of France to India H.E. François Richier replies to questions by the Indian Express on the recent dispute between ArcelorMittal and the French government.

To what extent was the French government influenced by press reports in deciding to back off from the nationalisation threat?

Not at all. Temporarily nationalising the Florange steelworks was an option raised during the discussions with ArcelorMittal. Temporary nationalisation has been recently done in the United States and the United Kingdom for their finance and automobile sectors. In France, it has also been a successful option for Alstom in 2004. Ultimately, ArcelorMittal and the French government found a mutually-agreed solution. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has clearly stated that this has always been our preferred option.

The Prime Minister said the company would keep the furnaces in working order for future use in a test project for eco-friendly steel production. Is this plan feasible to monitor?

Actually, ArcelorMittal and the French governement have found a way not only to solve the issue of the Florange site but also to prepare for the future. ArcelorMittal will keep the blast furnaces in a state that allows, in time, the realisation of an industrial high-tech project. This project, called ULCOS, is already underway and consists of producing steel through energy-efficient and eco-friendly means: carbon capture and sequestration. The French government and ArcelorMittal will continue the investment programme and the studies undertaken in this direction.

Isn't the French government's conduct in this case setting a pattern for monitoring employment and investments in private sector?

Everyone understands that the question of the Florange site is a particular case. It dates back to the commitments, especially the social commitments, made in 2006 by the group during the takeover of Arcelor. The French authorities want these commitments to be fulfilled. In this case, the government's handling reflected its deep attachment to finding mutually-beneficial solutions with industrial groups.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.