France wants to build "naval industry leader" - Minister
Italy – Shipyards – Reply by M. Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, to a question in the National Assembly
Paris, 2 August 2017
Last week the President, the Prime Minister and I took the decision to exercise the state’s pre-emptive right over the Saint-Nazaire shipyards and the company STX France.
We did so to protect the French nation’s strategic interests, protect our expertise and protect jobs at the Saint-Nazaire shipyards. We take ownership of and responsibility for the decision.
Our objective now is to build a shareholder base which guarantees the long-term future of the shipyards’ business, guarantees employment and, as you’ve said, guarantees the exceptional expertise in Saint-Nazaire, which is unique in Europe.
To this end, we’re going to consider a new shareholders’ pact. I had the opportunity to discuss this in Rome with our Italian friends yesterday, repeating to them that the company Fincantieri was welcome as part of a balanced pact on the Saint-Nazaire shipyards.
And what about the employees? Of course they’re welcome in this shareholders’ pact, because Saint-Nazaire is powerful mainly because of their expertise and skills.
Then – this is the strategic objective of the President, the Prime Minister and myself – we want to build a major European naval industry leader in the civilian field and, together with the Armed Forced Minister, who has been working on this for several months, in the military field with our Italian friends.
That is indeed the objective: in an increasingly competitive world, where shipbuilding increasingly requires expertise and competitiveness, we want to build in the naval field, with our Italian friends, the equivalent of Airbus in aerospace, so that we can have the world’s biggest champion of civilian and military shipbuilding./.