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Germany irritated by EU Opel comments

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Germany irritated by EU Opel comments

February 19, 2010 10:31 CET

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Germany is irritated by the European Commission's latest comments on state aid for Opel, deputy German Economy Minister Jochen Homann said on Friday.

The Commission said on Thursday Germany would have to decide whether to grant Opel aid without the assistance of the EU executive.

"We are slightly irritated by these comments," Homann said.

GM is asking European countries with Opel plants to contribute 2.7 billion euros ($3.7 billion) of aid toward the 3.3 billion euro restructuring. Germany alone is being asked for 1.5 billion in loans or loan guarantees.

German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle has publicly expressed skepticism about the plan, but German states with Opel plants have been more open to the idea of using taxpayer funds to help save as many jobs as possible.

The Opel plan envisages 8,300 job cuts including 4,000 in Germany, a plant closure in Antwerp. Belgium, 20 percent capacity cuts and a return to profit by 2012.

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