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French PM Joins Simmering Siemens Row

The simmering row between France and Germany over the Paris' bailout of Alstom boiled over on French television, when that country's prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, defended the state action. In the face of sharp German criticism over Paris' blocking an alliance with Siemens, Raffarin stressed the strength of the Franco-German relationship, saying that both countries continued to work together on major projects. Raffarin told LCI television: "We are not hostile to a tie-up with a major German company in the framework of creating a champion that is European and that protects French interests, industry and research." He added: "We defended our cause and we are defending jobs, and we are doing it on good terms with the Germans." German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder accused French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy of being "extremely nationalistic" in his opposition to Siemens on Monday and added that it could undermine Franco-German co-operation in Europe.

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