Freshly Minted Opel Deal Draws Critics
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is having to defend the sale of the troubled carmaker Opel to a Canadian-Russian consortium, just days after hailing the deal, The New York Times reported. Criticism grew sharper over the weekend on the terms of the deal, which was announced on Thursday in Berlin, beginning with unions that said more jobs would be cut than expected. Among the most vocal critics were government representatives of the Opel Trust, which was established in May to oversee the search for a buyer of 65 percent of Opel. Members said the German government was putting politics before business considerations in its deal with Magna International, a Canadian auto parts dealer, and Sberbank, the Russian partner. On Sunday, the Belgian foreign affairs minister, Yves Leterme, concerned that Germany might have sought to protect its own factories at the cost of others, said he would discuss the deal with European trade ministers at an informal meeting. And the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, warned of protectionism in the sale of Opel, which is based in Germany and is G.M.’s main operation in Europe. Read more.