January 16, 2019 / 1:31 PM / a year ago

France says EU would be wrong to block Siemens-Alstom deal

FILE PHOTO: Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alstom, and Siemens President and CEO Joe Kaeser attend a news conference to announce their deal to merge their rail operations, creating a European champion, in Paris, France, September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - The European Commission would be making a mistake if it blocks the merger between Siemens’s (SIEGn.DE) rail business and France’s Alstom, (ALSO.PA) France’s government’s spokesman said on Wednesday.

“A rejection by the European Commission would be an economic mistake but also a political failure. It would send the wrong signal to the people of Europe at a time Europe... has failed to protect European citizens... its companies,” government Benjamin Griveaux told reporters.

Antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager in December voiced doubts over the impact that the Franco-German deal would have on other high-speed train sector.

Reporting by Michel Rose and Jean-Baptiste Vey; editing by Richard Lough

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