Takeover of GE turbines by EDF: “The confessed fault will not be completely forgiven”, denounces the deputy LR Olivier Marleix

“I do not forget that we will have left a lot of employees on the floor”, indicated Olivier Marleix, deputy Les Républicains, Monday February 7 on franceinfo, concerning the takeover of the nuclear activities of General Electric (GE) which must be ratified by the board of directors of EDF during the day, seven years after the takeover. controversy of the energy branch of Alstom by GE, then promoted by the Minister of the Economy Emmanuel Macron. According to MP LR, the sale of this sector to GE “was a bad decision” that the government has recognized and that it “try to fix” today “after a few thousand job cuts by General Electric in France” and in particular in Belfort. “The confessed fault will not be completely forgiven”denounced Olivier Marleix.

franceinfo: Is this takeover a good solution?

Olivier Marleix: We correct the shot but under what conditions? Emmanuel Macron recognized the serious mistake he had made by signing this sale as Minister of the Economy. It was a fault for our strategic interests since we lost our capacity for autonomy in the civil nuclear sector, it was a gross fault. Today, we are being told of a takeover which will take place after a few thousand job cuts by General Electric in France, so the avowed fault will not be completely forgiven. Then, it will be necessary to see what the precise conditions of this takeover will be and in particular what will be the scope of the acquired activities. Turbines are fine. Then there is also the maintenance capacity of our nuclear power plants, all the services activity and, a very important element, the engineering dimension. Will it be within the scope of what is redeemed or not? For the moment there is no certainty and the amount of the announced redemption casts doubt.

Recovering this turbine activity represents an issue of national sovereignty, in your opinion?

France was no longer able to maintain its own nuclear power plants. She had left the club of countries capable of building nuclear power plants on their own. These turbines also equip our nuclear-powered submarines or our aircraft carrier so, yes, it was a huge loss of sovereignty and a serious mistake to have let this deal be done without more precaution.

Were there other solutions than a takeover by EDF?

I think that purely and simply integrating into EDF as the government wishes is not a solution. It is an emergency solution, but there are manufacturers who had made proposals. EDF has never built turbines, it is not an industrialist, so it is a vertical integration. This integration within EDF should not deprive these activities of other customers, in particular the largest current customer of these activities, the Russian Rosatom. It is not sure that the Russians appreciate being customers of their competitor. This raises a number of questions. We are waiting to see what the final details of the deal will be.

General Electric is requesting this takeover?

General Electric was a seller, it is in a bad situation. There too, what irresponsibility on the part of the public authorities five years ago, including Mr. Macron, to have chosen GE with their eyes closed when the group was extremely indebted. This is why he is now obliged to reorganize his assets and resell this activity. It was a bad decision. We are trying to fix it. We have to see in what condition we really get there and I don’t forget that we will have left a lot of employees on the floor in the process. Emmanuel Macron has made a 180 degree turn, it’s a lot of wasted time.

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