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Belgium, France, Luxembourg in Anti-ArcelorMittal Action

July 16, 2012
Nations fight to halt plant closings across Europe.

Belgium, France and Luxembourg plan to act in concert against steelmaker ArcelorMittal's continuing closure of sites across Europe, Luxembourg's Economy Minister Etienne Schneider said Monday.

"We want to act together between France, Belgium and Luxembourg to find ways of avoiding the closure of sites even when they're profitable," he said after meeting France's new socialist Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg.

Schneider, speaking in the city that hosts the headquarters of the world's leading steel and mining company, said some "hard" ideas had been raised but added: "It is premature to make them public."

Ministers from the three nations will meet in mid-September in Paris to examine ways of possibly legislating against the closure of industrial sites.

Earlier, Montebourg had said he was hoping governments across Europe would band together to take on ArcelorMittal (IW 1000/40), which is headed by Indian magnate Lakshmi Mittal.

"I am trying to build a response from nations faced by the power of a group like ArcelorMittal," Montebourg said.

"It is important to have direct contacts with industry minister counterparts in all of Europe where there are ArcelorMittal plants," he said, adding that European nations needed to have mastery over steel.

ArcelorMittal is the leading supplier of steel products in all major markets including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging. It operates in 60 countries and employs about 260,000 people worldwide.

It has temporarily closed several sites in Europe, in France as well as Belgium and Spain.

In Luxembourg it has temporarily closed a blast furnace at Schifflange and cut production at the Rodange site.

Montebourg plans to discuss the issue also in Spain and in Germany.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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