German social democrat MEPs declare solidarity with Opel employees in Antwerp

Plant closure is a blow for workers and the European Union alike

The delegation of the German social democrat Members in the European Parliament declare their solidarity with the Opel employees in Antwerp. The planned closure of the plant in Belgium and the relocation of its car production to Korea is a blow for workers and the European Union alike.

During the past months united efforts were made to save Opel jobs and know-how in Europe. The employees were willing to accept painful pay cuts in order to support the restructuring of their company after it would be sold to a new owner. General Motors (GM), however, suddenly changed its mind and decided to cling to Opel. All plans for an independent future of the company that were worked out during months of tough negotiations had to be dismissed.

Instead the new European management of GM started bilateral negotiations with governments of EU Member States hosting Opel production facilities; trying to maximise state support and playing one capital against the other. Shortly afterwards GM announced the closure of the Antwerp plant, thereby disregarding the framework agreement with the employees. We will not accept such double tracked policy. If GM would like to receive state aid for the restructuring of Opel, they better stick to their agreements; otherwise they will lose whatever is left of their credibility.

The developments in Antwerp underline once again, that Europe needs a master plan for its car manufacturing industry. It is simply not enough to develop future technologies in Europe; they need to be swiftly and successfully implemented as well. We need more environmentally friendly mobility and competitiveness. This is the way forward to create new jobs. Therefore we call upon the European Commission to take the initiative.

Jutta Steinruck, SPD MEP for Kaiserslautern

Udo Bullmann, SPD MEP for Rüsselsheim

Bernhard Rapkay, SPD MEP for Bochum