• Nov 14, 2008
The US Congress is contemplating a bailout of $25 billion or more for US automakers, and the European Union is watching closely. European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, told Europe 1 Radio that he is prepared to rat out the US government to the World Trade Organization if the EU considers the bailout illegal.

Barroso wants to look over any aid package to determine if it's "illegal state aid." European new car registrations are down 14.5% in recent months, and we're guessing the EU wants to ensure that any relief the US government may give domestic automakers doesn't afford them an unfair advantage overseas. We aren't exactly sure what the WTO could do to stop aid to the domestics, and it would likely be difficult to prove that state aid would help US automakers in Europe, especially since Ford and GM's biggest issues are here at home.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req. | Photo: Dominique Faget/Getty]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 51 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I find it funny when it comes to the U.S. the Europeans always run to "the EU is bigger than you" but when it comes down to it they still don't like each other. The French and Germans are not exactly BFF's, while the Brits and Irish don't often see eye to eye and on and on.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's because European countries were already being good and bad neighbors centuries before the U.S. as we know them were born. You don't have a distinct californian history and culture compared to a NYer. Which, unity wise, is a good thing.

        However, while European people might not like each other, the companies, automakers in this case, know exactly well how to deal with foreign economics unitedly.
        Which is why the EU has the economical leverage it has.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You Americans do realise that the economy of the EU is larger than the economy of the US right? You also realise that the EU has pushed the US around quite easily in recent trade rows. And finally, you also realise that in the event of a trade war, the EU would come out on top every time. The EU has more power in world trade, no doubt about it. The US is not as imporant and powerful as your may think.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)
        • 6 Years Ago
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm ready to go toe to toe with the EU in a trade war.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Nice how you use the nominal vs the PPP. Whereas the nominal can fluctuate widely due the currency changes the PPP is a more stable measurement.
        As for the EU as one cohesive unit don't bank on it... literally. With each EU nation using its own bag of tricks to fix the recent financial crisis shows how fragmented the EU really is. If there is a showdown between the US and EU there would be no contest as the US just moves too fast! You guys could'nt even get together tackle Milosevic without Uncle Sam holding your hand. The Kosovo war was a significant test of EU leadership and you failed miserably.

        • 6 Years Ago
        kitko:
        I reiterate:
        I am ready for a trade war with the EU and my country is ready too. I find your comments that the US cannot stand up to the EU to be hilarious.

        And I like Europe, btw.

        (yes, I know you responded to a different post)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thank you. I am an American who is sick of the arrogance of my countrymen.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A bit ironic isn't it when other countries have to take to legal means to keep the US to stick to it's capitalistic and democratic system!? :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      European automakers selling here make their money the old fashioned way by producing superior cars consumers will buy at a profit. A $50-billion+ taxpayer gift to the Desperate-3 gives them a significant advantage.

      The European Union is extremely powerful with a track record for visiting swift, effective retaliation on transgressors. It will spike a worldwide depression. Don't mess with it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If America has the right to whine about Airbus, then the E.U. has the right to whine about GM.

      Don't whine about being called 'dumb' and 'arrogant', because that's just what you are.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If they don't like it, tell them not to ship anything over here! They sure need our markets far more than we need theirs! Besides, we let everyone dump whatever they want here, but they won't let us to the same; time for a change. B-4 income taxes, US government got its money from import taxes/tariffs. Sounds like a great idea!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The simple fact is both sides need each other and it's only fair both sides play fair as much as possible. This is very standard fare and really not worth the effort to even start waving that flag. it's business. You can talk about EU economic power all you want but without the US market companies like BMW, Ferrari and Benz are that much poorer.
      • 6 Years Ago
      LS2LS7... You are correct. What I meant to say was that the EU has ignored WTO rulings before. Makes more sense that way, no? Having the US ignore them now wouldn't exactly be precedent setting.


        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed. Both sides complain rapidly and accede to rulings with reticence.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why should the US government give a rat's ass about what the EU or WTO think? Let our country do as it pleases. We are the world super power. Europe does plenty to assist its businesses and if we choose to do the same, that is none of their concern.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nothing rallys the American people like pissing off Europeans. The bailout is a sealed deal now.
        • 6 Years Ago
        WTO means very little to the USA, their rulings have no teeth, especially in a case where the products being sold in foreign markets aren't even made in the USA.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I was against the autoindustry bailout but, know that the Euro pansies are complaining, I am all for it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Personally, I hope GM goes bankrupt. Then they could restructure and get out from under those ridiculious union contracts, out from under the present management, out of the ridiculious healthcare coverage for retirees, and be a more streamline company.

        • 6 Years Ago
        That's nice for the UAW folks... non union retirees were told "Sorry" & MediCare should pick up the slack!

        The Big 3 are/ were more than unions
        • 6 Years Ago
        Retiree health care coverage costs were transferred to the UAW months ago.

        http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2007-09-26-uaw-veba_N.htm
        • 6 Years Ago
        Update your nonsense. GM & Chrysler already cut retiree heath care & life insurance! Chapter 11 guarantees their PENSIONS are flushed too.

        Glad you think people who worked for the Big 3(union & a helluva lot more NON-UNION) for decades deserve to get F**KED in their "golden years". While upper management get bonuses & separation packages (read the Chrysler stories today)

        Guess Wal*Mart gets a crap load of greeters... Do they hire people in their late 70's & 80's??? As for the other group of people you want to cut loose, I'm sure there are jobs in the great paying service industry... Oh yeah! "HOPE" for Chapter11 Geez!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        AZZO5b:
        I don't think you understand MediCare. MediCare kicks in at 65 and becomes your primary care provider (by law) regardless of who you had before. MediCare benefits are fixed and they don't "pick up the slack", as they are the primary provider, if anything they leave slack.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Did not the US give at least some assistance to Europe after World War 2?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah but if you really want to go historic the French could point out that they basically financed the existence of the United States of America via the Revolutionary war, the fact that German mercenaries were hired to help fight the British, etc. And Spain and the Dutch both went to war with Britain around then too since they were French allies, all things which helped make the United States possible.
        Anyways we all owe each other so it's pretty pointless. And honestly while the plan helped rebuild Europe we had our own reasons for everything. When we rebuilt Japan it wasn't just for the benefit of the Japanese lol.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It was called the "Marshal Plan". $13B dollars of US taxpayers money poured into 16 European countries after WW2 to help Europe rebuild. Germany alone recieved over $1.5B and eventually saw it's GNP +30% and industrial production +40%. I think the leaders of the EU somehow have forgoten this. They have also forgotten Eu subsidies to Airbus. Or more likely they hoped we would forget.
        www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,587026,00.html
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