The European Union moves to rescue carmakers as regulators will call a ministerial meeting on Friday in Brussels on the matter, the European Commission said on Thursday.
"In light of the deteriorating situation of automotive industry in the EU," Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen has "invited ministers from all member states to meet in Brussels on Friday, Jan. 16," the EU's executive body said in a statement.
"The purpose of the meeting is to review the situation in the sector and discuss existing and future measures at national level and in particular the need for coordination at European level," it said.
EU spokesman Jonathan Todd told a midday briefing that France has been mulling possible subsidies for its carmakers, which were seriously affected by the global financial crisis. But he did not give any details of the French plan.
Earlier reports from Paris said that French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed on Thursday that his country would mobilize resources to support the auto industry.
Following a visit to a factory of PSA Peugeot Citroen in Vesoul, eastern France, Sarkozy said the government would "give the necessary support, in the form of loans or guarantees," to help French car manufacturers overcome the difficulties and strengthen their activities.
A plan could be finalized by the end of the month, the president said.
The European Commission statement came one day after the European automakers association ACEA said that new car sales in Europe plunged 7.8 percent last year, the biggest annual slump in 15 years, as demand dampened in the background of an increasingly dimmer economic prospect.
(Xinhua News Agency January 16, 2009)