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Trends Tendances - Belgium | Wednesday, February 8, 2006

EU industrial policy put to the test

Amid Faljaoui, the weekly's editor-in-chief, characterises Mittal Steel's bid as the "ultimate slap in the face" for Europe. "Having understood that national champions didn't have a fighting chance on the world stage, European leaders set their sights on European champions. By dint of forced mergers between heavyweights in Spain (Aceralia), France (Usinor) and Luxembourg (Arbed), the new entity, Arcelor, was supposed to be the Airbus of steel. The only snag: while Airbus, the real one, is controlled predominantly by European states and enterprises, Arcelor has no such pre-eminent shareholder. In short, it is a jewel that belongs to myriad shareholders, therefore, to no one. A Sleeping Beauty that the Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal could not resist. And as always, when Old Europe is taken by surprise, it shows its ugliest face. That of the sore loser."

» To the complete press review of Wednesday, February 8, 2006

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