I’m Chris Burns and welcome to The Network where we connect into a matrix of newsmakers to get to the heart of an issue.
Let’s take a look at the issue in our latest programme.
It sent a shock wave through France’s political system and beyond when Peugeot announced it would slash 8,000 jobs and close at least one plant, sparking protests by workers and by the newly elected Socialist government. The carmaker cited plunging sales as much of Europe slides into recession.
Some blame surging imports due to a new free trade agreement with South Korea, though Volkswagen’s exports to Asia are rising. Others blame lagging productivity, high taxes and labour costs in France and other countries.
Europe’s auto industry has been plagued by overcapacity for years. Some say it is high time for a thinning out and a wave of mergers.
Some see it as a wider problem in Europe — that labour costs and productivity need improvement in many sectors and that propping up old industries should not be at the cost of encouraging new sectors to create new jobs.
Wired into this edition of The Network, from Tokyo is where he is on a trip to Asia, is Ivan Holden, Secretary General of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, ACEA.
Here at the European Parliament in Brussels is Luc Triangle, Deputy General Secretary of European trade union IndustriAll and also from the Parliament is Catherine Trautmann, a member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy who is also a member of the French Socialist party.
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