EADS manufactures several types of civil and defense aircraftImage: EADS
Berlin Threatens EADS
DW staff (sms)
February 4, 2007
The German government will review its defense contracts with Franco-German aeronautics company EADS if the restructuring of Airbus severely harms German interests, Economy Minister Michael Glos said Sunday.
"We insist that Germany must remain a high technology site for Airbus, in particular as far as fuselage construction is concerned," Glos told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. "If this is not the case, then Germany will have to review its defense contracts with the mother company.
"Current plans for cutbacks in jobs and a relocation of advanced technology are in no way acceptable to us,"he added. Germany, particularly the defense ministry, is one of EADS' largest clients.
Chancellor Angela Merkel planned to meet with EADS head Louis Gallois before he announces major cost cuts at Airbus later this month, according to the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.
Strikes held to protest possible cuts
A spokesman for the German government declined to comment on the report, but told the AFP news agency that Berlin "would use all means at its disposal to represent the interests of German workers to EADS."
German Airbus employees staged countrywide demonstrations on Friday in protest against the restructuring plans they fear could lead to the loss of up to 8,000 jobs in Germany.
Three of Germany's 16 federal states have agreed to buy between 1 percent and 2 percent of EADS shares so they can gain influence in the stock market listed group and oppose plans to close low-profit sites.
German plants above average
The German news magazine Focus reported this week that Airbus plants in Germany, on average, ranked above their French counterparts in a study commissioned by the plane maker's head Louis Gallois.
Factories in Hamburg and Bremen are reported to have scored among the best marks in the tests, though another German plant in Buxtehude landed in last place.
Airbus employs a total 23,000 people on a full-time basis at seven sites in Germany, plus a further 6,300 part-time employees.
EADS more than only Airbus
Details of the "Power 8" cuts, drafted in the face of costly delays to the Airbus 380 super-jumbo program, are not yet known, but are scheduled to be announced within the next three weeks.
Airbus has been under pressure to cut costs because of financial losses caused by a two-year delay in its twin-deck A380 and development problems with the smaller A350 model.
In addition to making commercial passenger aircraft EADS subsidiaries also manufacture Eurofighter warplanes, military transporters, helicopters and radar systems.